China approves three new lunar missions to mine helium-3, a mineral that could be effective in nuclear fusion.
There have been reports for some time that the Chine would have approved no less than three new missions to the Moon after discovering a new crystal-like mineral that could prove to be very important for future energy production. There is even a new name for this mineral that was harvested from the lunar soil: Changesite-(Y).
China approves three new lunar missions
The information was announced during the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC) a few days ago. Experts believe that the samples in which this mineral was discovered would be a billion years older than other samples recovered by previous missions carried out by the United States and the Soviet Union.
China is the third country to discover a new lunar mineral and, to be honest, there hasn’t been any progress on this front for 40 years. Either way, this is a historic achievement.
To go mine helium-3
All this is very interesting, and it could be even more so from an energy point of view. Indeed, this new mineral could contain helium-3, a form of helium almost non-existent on earth which could have enormous value for nuclear fusion.
Without going into too much detail, helium-3 could be an ideal fuel for nuclear fusion because it could produce a lot of energy without emitting a lot of radiation that could damage the reactor.
a mineral that could be effective in nuclear fusion
The potential abundance of helium-3 on the Moon is not new, nor is the idea of mining on the Moon, an idea that China has been considering since 2014. Such a mineral could give a serious boost to the race for the Moon, and it is also for this reason that we have been hearing about a return to the Moon for a few years.
This finding could help define precisely what to scavenge from the lunar soil and where to start mining. In his article “Helium-3 Power Generation”, Christopher Barnatt mentions that a Space Shuttle full of helium could power all of the United States for a year, which makes space mining very, very interesting.
While this certainly opens up incredible prospects, nuclear fusion is still far from being operational, despite the significant progress made in recent years. Researchers working on fusion reactors have succeeded in improving the stability of nuclear fusion and there is a great possibility that it could work well and change the world in a very positive way in the not so distant future.