13 votes

Mining Helium-3 on the Moon and sending it to Earth?

On Earth, before a mineral or petroleum resource is mined/extracted, the deposit is delineated and evaluated. Briefly, the process involves sending a some geologists and some drill rigs and their ...
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  • 11k
11 votes

Would it be more viable to process moon rocks into Helium-3 on the Moon than doing so on Earth?

Two big ifs here. IF we achieved viable commercial fusion power (other than the sun) and IF Helium-3 was an indispensable part of this process. But for the sake of argument, let's say Helium-3 is the ...
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  • 15.2k
10 votes
Accepted

How could the presence of 3He be detected on the lunar surface?

NASA [1] indicates that helium-3 can be assessed indirectly by measuring the presence of titanium dioxide and soil characteristics ("maturity"), the correlation having been derived from the study of ...
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  • 7,630
8 votes

When the moon rock heats up to 600°C, does only Helium comes out?

Lunar regolith may contain not only the lightest noble gas helium, but also hydrogen and other noble gases like neon, argon, krypton and xenon. The concentration of helium is much higher than that of ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Would it be more viable to process moon rocks into Helium-3 on the Moon than doing so on Earth?

The Moon would be a much better place most likely. As you said, 220 pounds of Helium-3 in a mass of many many tons of rock, makes it so that even a few tons of equipment to be dropped on the Moon ...
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7 votes

How long does it take to refresh helium-3 on the moon?

Interesting question! A quick check of Wikipedia's Helium-3 introduction says: The abundance of helium-3 is thought to be greater on the Moon than on Earth, having been embedded in the upper layer ...
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  • 148k
4 votes

Why exactly would "permanently shadowed polar lunar craters... have substantially higher levels of ³He than sunlit lunar surfaces?"

That is fairly obvious from the factoid you state yourself. In regions, of a celestial body, that are not shielded by an atmosphere and that are never lit by the sun, the temperatature can go down ...
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2 votes

Collect Helium-3 in the space (not surfaces)

That's how the Helium-3 on the Moon ended up there in the first place. After billions of years of exposure to the solar wind, the surface has a few parts per billion of accumulated He-3. You ...
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2 votes

How could the presence of 3He be detected on the lunar surface?

@OscarLanzi's reality-based answer is thorough and excellent! In short, the 3He flux from the Sun is known and how deep those particles will embed themselves in the regolith surface and the rate of ...
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  • 148k
2 votes

Would it be more viable to process moon rocks into Helium-3 on the Moon than doing so on Earth?

The appeal of 3He-D fusion is the lack of neutrons, which waste energy (being uncharged and all, you can't collect their energy) and when the neutrons collide with the reactor, they make the reactor ...
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