In 2008, solar power seems to be the hot topic for alternative fuel use. Solar powered products are already coming down in price so that the average consumer can take it home and use it, but now scientist are turning to the moon as well as the sun for power. Could the moon fuel our future?
We know that Laura Williams has taken interest in the lunar power idea with Aluna for the 2012 Olympics, but what if the power came from deeper within the moon? What if we mined the moon for Earth’s alternative fuel? Is it possible?
Scientists are looking into Helium-3, which is found in abundance on the moon, as an alternative fuel. Helium-3 is non-radioactive fuel source. It is a cleaner and safer energy source compared to other nuclear fuels. Though Helium-3 has been found on earth, there isn’t much of it. Moon rocks however, brought back to earth have provided evidence of good amounts of Helium-3 on the moon.
“Just 40 tons of this stuff has enough potential energy to meet the total U.S. electricity demand for a year.” Does this mean we will be mining the moon for Helium-3 any time soon to fuel the earth? Probably not, since the cost to extract Helium-3 from the moon would be enormous and it would require “hundreds of millions of tons of soil” to “be processed to extract a ton of helium-3”.
In addition, as of right now extracting Helium-3 and bringing it back to earth would require more energy than it would deliver. Despite this scientist are looking into Helium-3 to show that there are alternative fuels to use and that perhaps in the future with advanced technology scientist can learn more energy efficient and cost effective ways to extract it from the moon.