How much would it cost to mine helium-3 on the Moon?
Lunar Mining But at a projected value of $40,000 per ounce, 220 pounds of helium-3 would be worth about $141 million.
How would helium-3 be mined?
This helium-3 could potentially be extracted by heating the lunar dust to around 600 degrees C, before bringing it back to the Earth to fuel a new generation of nuclear fusion power plants.
Can helium be found on the Moon?
In Space Force, scientists note that helium-3 is abundant on the Moon. They’re right. In 1986, scientists estimated that there are one million tons of helium-3 to be found in the lunar soil, which is called regolith.
How much is a gram of helium-3?
$1400 per gram
At $1400 per gram, one hundred kilograms (220 pounds) of helium-3 would be worth about $140 million. One hundred kilograms constitutes more than enough fuel to potentially power a 1000 megawatt electric plant for a year when fused with deuterium, the terrestrially abundant heavy isotope of hydrogen.
Can helium-3 be made?
The lithium nucleus absorbs a neutron and splits into helium-4 and tritium. Tritium decays into helium-3 with a half-life of 12.3 years, so helium-3 can be produced by simply storing the tritium until it undergoes radioactive decay.
How much is an ounce of helium-3 worth?
Twenty parts per billion may not seem like much; however, the value of helium-3 relative to the probable energy equivalent value of coal in 2010-2020, estimated conservatively at $2.50 per million BTU (0.25 x 106kcal) will be almost $1400 per gram ($40,000 per ounce)!
Will fusion reactors produce helium?
A fusion reactor produces helium, which is an inert gas. It also produces and consumes tritium within the plant in a closed circuit.
Can helium be harvested from space?
It’s simply not feasible. However, mining other resources in space, such as asteroids, Luna, or the inner planets, is within the reach of feasibility studies, although NASA does not have concrete plans at this point.
Where can helium-3 Be Found?
The abundance of helium-3 is thought to be greater on the Moon than on Earth, having been embedded in the upper layer of regolith by the solar wind over billions of years, though still lower in abundance than in the Solar System’s gas giants.