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What is Helium 3?
Helium 3 is a gas that is very rare indeed on Earth but relatively abundant on the Moon. It is an isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron which could potentially be harnessed as a fuel in future nuclear fusion power stations, without creating any radioactive waste.
How much Helium 3 would be required to power the earth?
Based on existing energy consumption, about 100 tonnes of helium 3 could potentially power the Earth for a year.
How much Helium 3 is on the moon?
Nobody really knows exactly how much helium 3 is on the Moon. However, estimates suggest that there could be over one million tonnes of the gas in the first few metres of the lunar rocks and topsoil; enough to power the earth at today's levels for thousands of years.
How was Helium 3 discovered?
The existence of helium 3 was first proposed following experiments by Mark Oliphant at Cambridge University in 1934. Helium 3 is a known by-product resulting from the maintenance of nuclear weapons and it has also been found in samples of Moon rocks brought back by the Apollo astronauts.
Helium-3 (He-3) is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron. It is rare on Earth, and is sought for use in nuclear fusion research. The abundance of helium-3 is thought to be greater on the Moon (embedded in the upper layer of regolith by the solar wind over billions of years) and the solar system's gas giants (left over from the original solar nebula), though still low in quantity (28 ppm of lunar regolith is helium-4 and from 0.01 ppm to 0.05 ppm is helium-3).
Originally posted by space cadet
I don't want us to mine the moon. Period. It just seems to me like instead of raping a resource from another planet, in particular our moon which is so important to earth, we could continue our search for answers here on earth.