Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation. Our civilization does not require He-3 to survive.
Mining the Moon
So there goes your business case. Plus, if absolutely required, I am sure alternate methods for screening which don't require He-3 could be developped, probably for much less money than sending miners to the moon. I don't think a commercial lunar mission would be viable at that price, though. It might be interesting to mount a robotic mission as a demonstration of extraction and processing of He-3 in very small amounts.
To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. BTW, at liters per kilogram you could carry the entire world's market for helium 3 for a couple decades inside ascent stage of the Apollo Lunar module still with room for an astronaut. A lunar space elevator would be totally unnecessary for transporting the helium 3 itself.
One of these threads has discussion about shooting hollow spherical balls of platinum group metals, roughly one meter in diameter, at the Earth using a solar-powered linear accelerator. The original idea was in the context of asteroid mining. The idea is they would survive re-entry, and land subsonically somewhere intact in a remote location, like a big lake or ocean. Perhaps something similar could be done with lunar precious metals, but you fill the spheres with He3 instead of vacuum.
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Might kill two birds with one sphere on its way down it might pass through a flock. Perhaps the elevator you mention could double as the linear accelerator. And reasonably good aiming would clearly be important! The elevator could also do mundane things like pumping water or lifting ice cubes from the moon's gravity for in-space propulsion use. I'd be interested in seeing more details on the proposed elevator. May not fund a lunar elevator but it might fund some commercial venture on the moon using more conventional technology.
Now the rare earth and platinum group metal shortage could make building such an elevator worth while. Though near Earth asteroids might be easier sources for these.
Progress in alternative neutron detection to address the helium-3 shortage - INSPIRE-HEP
How long does the tether need to be and what is the breaking strength of the material? What is the proposed diameter?
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And how does the material stand up to friction, wear and tear, radiation etc.? How long for the elevator to crawl up and down on it's spiderweb?
Robotic infrasructure for mining, transfer fro L1 to LEO, tugs, transporters? The stuff has a huge volume Maybe if it was made of fairyfloss SMF 2.
The much less complex Curiosity rover mission cost more than that. An infinite number? With no depreciation? With no upkeep? Even mundane communications satellites don't have infinite lifetimes.
Unsubstatiated conjecture. Logged Elasmotherium; hurlyburly Doggerlandic Jentilak steeds insouciantly gallop in viridescent taiga, eluding deluginal Burckle's abyssal excavation. He-3 can be synthesized from Li. Far more than gold, platinum, etc. By the mid s 1. The current reserve is approximately 0. But, Chan notes, in the Helium Privatization Act mandated that the Department of the Interior sell off all the stockpiled helium by Source: Probing Question: Are we running out of helium? There is focus on the negative impact that bad policy has on scientific users of helium, but I want to emphasize that there are many other uses of helium in industry and medicine , and a few are listed below :.
We cannot produce more helium once it is all extracted from the earth. In that sense, the problem of running out of helium is different from the problem of running out of petroleum. For the latter, people can and do synthesize alternatives such as ethanol fuel, not to mention the myriad non-carbon-emitting energy options out there. This question originally appeared on Quora. This is an issue that many people outside the industries that use helium are unaware of, but one that will eventually affect them nonetheless. A few months after this article appeared, congress passed a bill to maintain the reserves.
Related The Helium-3 Shortage: Supply, Demand, and Options for Congress
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