July 27, 2008

Well, I Saw This Coming

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.


Mary Ellen said...

I was going to buy land on the mood but I just cannot stand green cheese Knowing the French and their love of stinky cheese, they'll get to the moon long before us and then we'll be paying exorbitant prices for stuff that smells like dirty socks.

Wait..this post was about HE3 dust, which should not be confused with angel dust which goes for a pretty penny on the streets.. ..

Oh my, I'm beginning to sound like okjimm, which happens a lot when I don't know what else to say.


I always wondered what Bush was blathering about when he mentioned trips to Mars. I should ask my husband about this stuff, he's a scientist and I'm wondering if he's heard much talk about HE3.

two crows said...

hi, Mary Ellen--
glad you're back-- I'll have to hop over to Bad Habit and see what you're up to there.

your hubby is a scientist? what flavor?
as far as this post is concerned: anything Bush is this excited about raises my antennae. [hmm -- I DIDN'T mean to draw a parallel with My Favorite Martian, honest.
now, I'M doing an impersonation of okjimm.]

anyhow, it seems that nuclear fusion is really hard to do without using HE3 -- but, theoretically at least, much easier with it. and fusion is safer and cleaner [so they say] than fission. whether it'll cost less, who can say? fission was SUPPOSED to be almost free. remember?
uh-huh. right.
given how much it'll cost to mine HE3 and bring it home, don't bank on cheap electricity anytime soon. certainly not as cheap as wind, solar, geothermal, etc. etc. here on earth.
in fact, there's a new solar film coming out that is going to make solar panels obsolete within a decade. it WILL be cheap.
so the US gov't will do whatever it can to stop its development, of course. and Europe will pick up the slack and we'll pay what they want to charge us.
cynical? moi? **innocently pressing finger-tips to chest**

an average patriot said...

I heard that about mining them at least a year ago and it will happen like you said at our expense and businesses profit
It blows my mind that colonizing those planets is even a thought! No way in hell! Can you imagine the life, getting supplies there, forget it. Taking the resources is the goal and by China and Russia as you say, at least for now.
Star wars that supposedly no one wants is long under way. Rememember when China shot down their own satellite? That was a shot across our bow. A star wars is a given. Whoever owns space owns the future. Whoever can take out the others satellites own the battle field. Without satellites there is no military. No Carriers, planes, tanks, missiles, nothing, dead in the water.
Remember HAARP? Anyway once we start taking out satellites we are all trapped here as the space junk would drop anything trying to get through it. Quite a mess huh? Makes you think!

two crows said...

hey, Jim--
oh, we'll colonize the moon and Mars-- make no mistake about that.
the he3 will simply determine the time table. now that the powers-that-be have discovered a way to make a profit, we'll be going back asap.

and, just wait---- the gov't will very, very soon be, once again, telling us that all other forms of energy development are based on 'pseudo-science' as opposed to nuclear fusion [which will be touted as a sure thing altho we still aren't able to accomplish it.]

otoh-- the solar-film is already being produced. and we don't have to go to the moon or mars [or the sun] to get it.

I also recently saw wind generators that will work in cities! they've tested em in the windiest city of all -- Chicago.
are you listening, Mary Ellen??? :)

but, we'll strip mine the moon and Mars rather than develop either of those.

Mary Ellen said...

Surprisingly, I used to think that Chicago was the windiest city until I went to Nevada, that place is crazy windy! Of course, if they set up some windmills in the Chicago City Council office...lots of hot air blowing there. ;-)

Mary Ellen said...

ooops, didn't see where you asked me about what kind of scientist my husband is...He does research on catalytic science and technology. Don't ask me what it is...I just know it brings in a paycheck. Apparently, his work is well known in his field and his patents are used by a number of large corporations. The only reason I know that is because I have to sit through a lot of award dinners. The food is free and it's a night out. ;-)

two crows said...

hi, Mary Ellen--
as to wind generation out west -- THEY can use traditional windmills out there because there's so much open space.

the great thing about these new turbines is that they can be installed in cities where wind direction is so sporadic and can switch direction abruptly. those changes in direction can rip the blades off regular windmills.
the city-type windmill is much smaller and are spirals which don't twist and break off when the wind direction changes suddenly. there's a certain elegance about them, too. and, I think, they're cheaper than the wild-west type.
'He does research on catalytic science and technology.'
uhhhhhhhh -- ok, now I know as much as I did before. :)

oh, 'patents and awards dinners' THAT part I understand: rubber chicken?

dguzman said...

gees, Two Crows--I hadn't heard anything about this (no TV) but I happened to come over here today, after reading DCap's inspiring post about space stuff. Now I'm completely bummed.

I always knew solar power would never catch on because there's no money in it for Big Bidness. But this--this has the potential to be the most despicable thing humanity has ever done, period, IMHO.

two crows said...

sorry to bring you down, dguzman.

fwiw-- I wasn't joking. it IS possible to buy acre plots on the moon.
if it was just people like you and me buying em, I'd figure we'd simply be muscled aside when the mining starts. but there're deep pockets there, too: Reagan, Carter, Bush I, Streisand, Oprah, etc. etc. etc. [and those are only the ones I know of.]

so, there's a chance the people who own plots may even be able to either sell for a profit at least--or even have some say over how the mining is carried out.
it's worth a shot, at least.
Europe continues to develop alternative energy sources here on earth.
Denmark [I think it was] has invented solar film. it can be installed on ANYONE'S roof for pennies on the dollar compared to regular solar panels.

it's already being manufactured and will probably be in this country within 5 years -- unless our gov't bans it.
which I doubt they'll get away with once BushCo are out of office -- assuming we can hold McCain off with a whip and a chair.