Interlune: Mining Helium-3 on the Moon for Clean Energy

By: | March 22nd, 2024

Image by Interlune

Harnessing Lunar Resources for Sustainable Energy

Are you aware that a mere 25 tonnes of helium-3, an uncommon isotope of helium, could sustain the entire energy needs of the United States for a full year? However, the Earth’s atmosphere receives only a minimal amount of helium from its core activity, which is insufficient to fulfill our energy requirements. Hence, the sole viable option to obtain this potent fuel is through lunar mining. Remarkably, a company called Interlune has already secured $15 million in funding to pursue the extraction of helium-3 from the moon and transport it back to Earth.

Revolutionizing Energy with Lunar Mining

Helium-3 holds immense potential. Fusion, the process that powers stars, requires isotopes like helium-3 for a safe and efficient reaction. Unlike traditional methods that rely on radioactive tritium, fusion with helium-3 produces minimal waste. This could revolutionize Earth’s energy landscape, offering a near-limitless source of clean power.

While Earth’s atmosphere contains only a minimal amount of helium-3, the moon’s lack of atmosphere makes it rich in this resource, with approximately 1.2 million tons available. Helium-3 on the moon is valued at $4 billion per ton, making it highly sought after for its potential energy applications.

Towards Clean Energy Independence

However, the challenges are substantial. Mining on the Moon presents logistical hurdles. Developing efficient extraction methods and transporting the material back to Earth requires significant technological advancements. Additionally, practical fusion reactors are still under development, though research is rapidly progressing.

Despite the hurdles, this company’s initiative represents a significant leap forward. If successful, it could usher in a new era of clean and sustainable energy, powered by the resources of our celestial neighbor. The moon, long a source of inspiration, could soon become a beacon of hope for a brighter energy future on Earth.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

More articles from Industry Tap...