May 23, 2007

To Exploit the Moon

I watched a documentary on the Science channel, last night. And the reason why Bush is bent on escalating NASA’s planetary exploration program became clear.
Nuclear fission has been, so far, the only practical way to create nuclear energy for powering our civilization. Nuclear fusion on a large scale simply isn’t possible—if you are bound to the earth. But, it turns out, the sun continuously churns out helium three [he3]. The particles are blocked by the atmosphere from reaching the earth but they’ve been building up on the moon for millennia. He3 makes nuclear fusion much easier to achieve.
So, now, several countries [including the US and Russia] are waking up to the riches that can be gleaned by strip mining the moon.
Enter the idea of colonizing the moon. Whoever can get there first and lay claim to it can make $billions or trillions by exploiting the he3. They're going so far as to call the moon the Middle East of the twenty-first century. Now, that's a chilling thought.
Here we go again.
When the possibilities involving oil began to be realized, no doubt the numbers were bandied about much as people are doing now. ‘There are billions of tons of oil under the ground. All we have to do is drill for it. It’s all around us!’
How fast have we run through that oil? And, how many wars have occurred, and how many people have died, because of it? Obviously, people are willing to pay any amount—so long as their gas-guzzlers are kept running.
Now, a scientist has discovered how to squeeze water out of moon dust. It takes enormous amounts of heat—but it can be done. Water = hydrogen and OXYGEN. So, the main ingredients for terra-forming the moon are available on site. And all that he3 is just sitting there waiting for the greediest to seize it.

The race is on.


PoliShifter said...

If fusion can be achieved it will create an interesting paradox.

On the one hand free, clean, and cheap energy would be available.

A few fusion plants could power the whole world. On the other hand, whoever controls those plants will yield massive power, even more than the oil companies yield.

I don't like this idea of "strip mining" the moon without some serious thinking about it.

The moon plays a large part in maintaining our existence. It causes the tides and helps stabilize our weather patterns.

If they start blowing the shit out of the moon and change the orbit of the moon or drastically reduce its mass, it could have serious consequences.

I do think we need to develop fusion. Indeed people are working on it.

But I don't know that we need to mine H3 on the moon to do it.

Here are some old posts from my other bog:

Nuclear Fusion: Powering The World by 2015?

World's First Fusion Reactor to be built

two crows said...

hey, Poli--
I remember when fission was the big wave of the future. cheap, unlimited energy was the by-word back in the late 50's and early 60's.

then the plants began being built to the tune of billions of dollars -- what with cost overruns and unforeseen problems.

and, today we're looking at tons and tons of spent fuel rods and nimby-- so they're in giant holding pools while we try to figure out how to safely store stuff that will take millions of years to become anywhere close to inert.
and, we've got one hell of a tempting target for any terrorist interested in committing suicide while taking half the planet with him.

who knows what the unforeseen consequences of the 'cheap energy' from fusion may be? I just hope it's not as expensive as fission has turned out to be-- but given the fact that getting to the moon to get the raw material to make it happen is one hell of a first step-- I seriously doubt that will be the case.