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MOON

HE-3 ON MOON
On our moon, however, He-3 occurs in far greater abundance as a deposit laid down in the lunar soil, or regolith, by solar winds (our sun is a vast fusion reactor). Lunar rock and regolith samples brought back to Earth by Apollo missions revealed He-3 in small but significant concentrations. To extract the lunar He-3, massive amounts of regolith would be scraped up and superheated. The He-3 extracted would be refined to a highly concentrated "superliquid” (the 1996 and 2003 Nobel Prizes in Physics were awarded to scientists who identified and study this superliquid occurrence of He-3). The concentrated He-3 would have to be transported back to Earth for use as a nuclear fusion fuel; it is estimated that a single Space Shuttle payload could supply the United States' energy needs at current consumption for a year (assuming, of course, that we figure out how to create a nuclear fusion reaction in a controlled environment). It is quite conceivable that advances in fusion technology could abruptly make the moon's He-3 a vastly valuable resource, setting off a new space race to capture and control the lunar He-3 supply.

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