Extract and supply resources on the moon and provide the Earth with helium-3 using environmentally friendly methods
Helium-3 is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron. Its hypothetical existence was first proposed in 1934 by the Australian nuclear physicist Mark Oliphant while he was working at the University of Cambridge Cavendish Laboratory.
The demand for water in space is growing rapidly and expected to exceed 16,000 tons annually by 2030, currently water supplied on the Moon's surface has a high cost of about $30,000 USD per kg. Space Industries intends to produce water on the lunar surface for as low as $3,000 per kg.
How does it work?
Space Industries focus is on the production of Helium-3 which is mostly because there is no natural reserve of Helium-3 on Earth, currently Helium-3 is produced from the waste product of nuclear weapon production which is tritium. As the tritium decays over its half-life of 12.3 years it releases Helium-3, there is currently an estimated 28kg of tritium on Earth.
In the process of extracting the Helium-3, the Resource Extraction Vehicle (REV) will also produce water and other isotopes which can be used on the Moon's surface or even in orbit. The bi-product resources can be used to produce power, heat, hydration and even propellant for thrust, this will make Space Industries a major enabler for utilities in space.
When will it happen?
Development of the Resource Extraction Vehicle (REV) has commenced and the overall plan it to have the vehicle ready for launch in 2030, by partnering with companies with space heritage we can achieve our-time frame objectives. Space Industries are collaborating with many companies within the space industry and even ones not typically in the space industry to enable the mission to be an excess and commercially viable.
Why mine Helium-3 on the Moon?
After 911, the USA depleted most of its reserves of Helium-3 in the process of manufacturing and deploying neutron detection devices around its borders to detect plutonium as a national threat prevention measure, soon after the US government restricted the supply of Helium-3 to the market down to only 14,000 litres per year. The current market for Helium-3 exceeds 100,000 litres with no other supply possible. The moon is the only option.
The space water market is also rapidly expanding as more space vehicles become refuel-able to extend the life of product and also to enable re-usability thus reducing the cost to operate in space.
What is Helium-3 Used For?
Mining in space is real and happening nowTake an in-depth look into the progress of space resources utilization to support humans returning to and staying in space and on the moon.
The Helium-3 End Goal is Energy
35 Countries ParticipatingThe ITER Members China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States have combined resources to conquer one of the greatest frontiers in science—reproducing on Earth the boundless energy that fuels the Sun and the stars.
helium-3 and deuterium as the fuels in "aneutronic" (power without neutrons) fusion reactors. The involved nuclear reaction here when helium-3 and deuterium fuse creates normal helium and a proton, which wastes less energy and is easier to contain. Nuclear fusion reactors using helium-3 could therefore provide a highly efficient form of nuclear power with virtually no waste and no radiation.
When, Not If
The UK government has announced an investment of £200m to deliver electricity from a fusion reactor by 2040, private companies and governments told the BBC they aim to have demonstration models working within five years. Nuclear fusion is an attempt to replicate the processes of the Sun on Earth. It differs significantly from nuclear fission, which has been our only way of getting electricity from atoms since the 1950s..
The appeal of helium-3 fusion stems from the aneutronic nature of its reaction products. Helium-3 itself is non-radioactive
Helium-3 boils at 3.19 K compared with helium-4 at 4.23 K and has less than half the density of Helium-4 when it is at its boiling point.