For Moon Mission, a space vehicle (Chandrayaan) will revolve around Lunar surface to collect various information. It’s cameras and sensors will be looking for elements such as 222-radon, 210-plumbum,Magnesium,Aluminium,Silicon,calcium,,iron,uranium and Thorium. These minerals are what everyone from US to Japan is looking for on the moon. With earthly minerals and energy resources fast running out, scientist believe that by the middle of 21st century ,man should be able to mine the moon and use its abundant helium-3 as fuel to be used as energy source.
The Moon is estimated to have about one million tones of helium-3, which scientist believe, could be the fuel for the future, and is scarce on earth. It is estimated that 40 tonnes of helium-3 is enough to generate the total power requirement of the US for one-year!! .One area which seems to be seriously considered is mining of helium-3 and bringing to earth for use in fusion reactor to generate electricity.
Once believed to be wasteland, lunar surface is now believed to be capable of supporting life. After the American mission ‘Clementine’ found traces of water-ice at the moon’s poles, scientist guesstimate that more than 10 billion tones of ice exist there. This Lunar ice can be used to produce lunar water. This water can be used to irrigate lunar land or can be used in cooking. As scientist say, that is all fiction. But the lunar-ice can be used as fuel (by breaking it into liquid hydrogen and oxygen which are most powerful chemical propellants) for communication satellites in orbit between moon and earth.
All this will take years to fructify, but advanced countries are already developing the towards such ends. International treaties prohibit any country from colonizing the moon, but once mining of the moon becomes technologically feasible, India is convinced that pioneers will work out treaties to suit their own interests. So we should be there to stake a claim when the others land their Bulldozers!!.
Published in ISTE’s Nirma University Chapter’s annual magazine.
- The problem with mining energy on the Moon (boingboing.net)
- Does moon hold clean energy for Earth? (cnn.com)