This could be the key to unlocking Fusion Energy.
Chinese scientists are currently studying samples of lunar rock to determine if they can be used as a fuel source for nuclear Fusion.
According to Space.com, researchers at Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology have been analysing a 50-milligram sample of rock taken during China's Change-5 lunar return mission. Scientists are studying the rocks to determine if helium-3 is a possible fuel for fusion power stations. Although it is rare on Earth, some scientists believe that the Moon could be a rich source for the isotope.
Huang Zhixin, an institute researcher, stated that the main purpose of the study was to determine the lunar soil's content and the extraction parameters. This indicates how hot it can be extracted from the lunar soil.
The helium-3 is a fuel source that could potentially be used to power fusion reactors, according to fusion researchers. Researchers at MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center discovered that adding a small amount of this isotope to the nuclear fusion process led to increased efficiency and greater heating.
Problem? Helium-3 is very rare on Earth. It is extremely rare on Earth. However, it might be found abundantly on the Moon because the lunar surface is not protected from solar winds that can transport helium-3 to its rocks.
Duncan Jones' 2009 film Moon, which was critically acclaimed for its premise of mining it from the Earth's natural satellite, actually explains this.
From the Moon to the Earth
Although the possibility of a game-changing radioactive isotope that will unlock the door to nuclear Fusion is exciting, it is important to keep in mind that there is no infrastructure to mine the lunar surface or transport materials back to Earth. Let's not forget about terrestrial renewable energy solutions.
There is still plenty to be excited about.
However, it is still scientifically valuable to measure helium-3 concentrations at different locations on the Moon, Ian Crawford, a planetary scientist and an astrobiologist, said to Space.com.
READ MORE: China's moon rock studies include fusion history analysis and volcanic history [Space.com]
More about moon mining: Mining lunar ice could irrevocably damage the moon's environment
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