Last winter the Science Channel broadcast a program about Helium Three [He3]. It’s an essential ingredient in the development of nuclear fusion and nuclear fusion is, according to many scientists, our next step when it comes to powering our cities and, maybe one day, our cars. IF we can figure out how to do it. And, with lots of HE3 available, we just might.
The sun has been steadily churning out HE3 since it first turned on 4.5 billion years ago. The earth, though, has a magnetic field that has effectively shielded the planet from all that HE3. The moon and Mars don’t have magnetic fields and are literally covered in HE3 dust.
So, the Science Channel reported that the Moon and Mars are covered in this stuff. So what?
Well, my first thought when I saw it was, ‘We’re off to the races and we’re going to make the 1st space race look like a stroll in the park.' After all, that was just politically motivated. But this time thar’s MONEY on them thar planets! The tax payers will foot the bill to get there and the CEO’s will make the profits. What could be better?
Sure enough, toward the end, the program trotted out several men who are high-up muckity-mucks in the energy industry to get their thoughts on these facts. One went so far as to call the Moon the next Middle East. Oh, wonderful—just what we need. Star Wars.
Then, several weeks ago, I heard Bush going on and on about funding NASA at levels we haven’t seen since the original space race. He talked about colonizing the Moon and Mars.
He was careful not to mention HE3 or mining but, if you had watched the program on the Science Channel it was easy to see what he’s up to: His family is in the oil business. But we’re running out of oil. So, he’s positioning his family to be involved early-on with the next major energy commodity that HE sees as important. Is it a relatively low-cost, renewable resource that can be harvested here on earth? Not on your life! It’s the most expensive, hard-to-get-at product out there—after all, we don’t want the equivalent of bathtub gin that anyone can make and even sell back to the grid. He and his family and the other uber-rich folks want something that the rest of us have to buy from them.
And, tonight, I saw Phase 3: Sixty Minutes either wittingly or unwittingly [my guess is they knew exactly what they were doing—they’re lots smarter than Bush is, fwiw] was gushing on and on about colonizing the Moon and Mars. They dressed the whole thing up in romantic clothing but, bank on it, the government wouldn’t be spending all this money on going back into space in a big way if there wasn’t something in it for them.
Sixty Minutes was sent out as an advance guard to convince the rest of us that this is a Good Idea.
btw—on the first program I saw—and blogged on [I’m going to hunt down that article and repost it sometime soon] there was one lone scientist who begged us to look at the unintended consequences we’ve encountered when we’ve galloped off in all directions in the past—before we do it again.
And, tonight, 60 Minutes trotted out the opposition [one senator] to suggest that taking on this formidable task when our country is in the toilet economically might not be the best use of our scarce resources. Not surprisingly, he got about ½ minute air time—in a 20-minute segment.
We’re heading out to mine the Moon and Mars, folks. And nothing’s gonna stop us [and China, and Russia, and Japan, and India, and Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, and Jordan, and Israel, and Britain, et al.] and Star Wars here we come, ready or not.
Another btw: in that first blog post, I talked about buying an acre plot on the Moon. They ARE available for sale for about $37 per acre, if memory serves. I bought 2 for myself and several for friends when I first heard about this plan to strip mine the Moon. I think it’s time to buy a few more—soon—before the government puts a stop to such sales. Right now it’s legal and mining rights are included. But who knows how long that will last with this push starting up in earnest?
Get ‘em before they become too hot folks. They could be worth quite a bit of money down the road.