They found a rare metal that can be used as fuel on the moon

Yutu-2 image from the Chang'e-4 lander.

China just announced three new unmanned missions to the moon. why? Well, because the samples collected by probe Chang’e-5 in 2020 They just found large amounts of an isotope of helium called helium-3 in the regolith immortalized. Chinese scientists already have a name for the new mineral: Changesite-Y.

What is important andl helium 3? Well, it turns out that this stable peer With two protons and one neutron It is a promising fuel for fusion reactors. Current fusion reactors use deuterium and tritium to function, but these isotopes generate leftovers.The radioactive diode loses energy during the reaction and its containment is complex. Helium-3 is the only isotope A known stable contains more protons than neutrons, making it a theoretical nuclear fuelIt is rich in cleanliness and has the potential to generate much higher energy than the current one.

In theory, one of the newer fusion reactors fueled by helium-3 could fulfill the promise of a clean, nearly inexhaustible energy source. The problem is that helium-3 is an extremely rare compound on Earth. The mantle beneath the Earth’s crust is thought to be teeming with this isotope. upper layers of Atmospheric they also have, but in both cases the possibilities of extracting it are very remote and expensive. If it is confirmed that there are abundant amounts of helium 3 on the surface of the moon The door to a promising future for satellite mining operations.

The samples from the Chang’E 5 probe served not only to find this element. In their days, they also worked on emphasizing directly Attend the Water on the moon.

The potential presence of a valuable resource on the Moon is perhaps the best news we can hope for, as it will be a great incentive for the various space agencies to redouble their efforts when it comes to establishing a permanent base on the Moon. China has already announced investigations for the studys In more detail the reserves of helium 3. NASA continues its Artemis program. Nothing better than a treasure to motivate the participants in the race.[[[[IFL Science]

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Lovell Loxley

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