India’s plans for their space program is to go to the south side of the moon, a place where nobody ever reached. There, they plan to study if mining can be possible. If the studies show promise, India could mine waste-free nuclear energy worth trillions of dollars.
The mission will start in October when the Indian space agency (Indian Space Research Organisation – ISRO) will launch a rover to explore the south side of the moon’s surface and check the crust for water and helium-3 traces. If harnessed, the isotope could theoretically provide energy for the whole Earth for 250 years.
K. Sivan, chairman of the ISRO stated:
“The countries which have the capacity to bring that source from the moon to Earth will dictate the process. I don’t want to be just a part of them, I want to lead them.”
ISRO has more plans for lunar missions, the first one being the rover, with a space station in orbit and then an Indian crew on the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-2 Mission Searching for Helium-3
The mission of Chandrayaan-2 includes three devices: an orbiter, lander and a rectangular rover. The rover has six wheels, is powered by solar energy, and will spend 12 days on the moon’s surface to cover an area with a 400-meter radius and collect enough information. The lander will receive images from the rover, and then transmit them to the ISRO for the scientists to analyze.
The main objective is to find deposits of helium-3, which have resulted from solar winds hitting the moon, which doesn’t have a magnetic field to protect itself from them.
After the Apollo missions, the presence of helium-3 was confirmed in the moon samples that returned with the Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who is also a geologist.
Gerald Kulcinski, a former member of the NASA Advisory Council and the director of the Fusion Technology Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison explained that only 250,000 tons of helium-3 can be taken back to Earth and that it could provide enough energy to the current world’s demand for 5-10 centuries. He also estimated that the value of a ton of helium-3 would be almost $5 billion.
The European Space Agency said that the isotope “could provide safer nuclear energy in a fusion reactor, since it is not radioactive and would not produce dangerous waste products.”
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere