China Wants To Mine The Moon

06/08/2014 11:29 | Updated 06 August 2014

Chinese scientists have announced that mining the Moon could solve the energy crisis by providing nearly 10,000 years of energy thanks to a rare substance called Helium 3.

READ MORE: Google Maps Now Lets You Visit The Moon And Mars

This rather bold claim is grounded in fact: tests have shown that the Moon contains huge deposits of the substance which can be used to power clean nuclear fusion reactors.

Helium 3 is very rarely found on Earth because our atmosphere stops it from being blown onto the surface by solar winds. The Moon however has no protection with the isotope freely hitting the surface and bonding with the dust.

China claims that the dust can then be mined, extracted by heating it to 600 degrees and then shipped back to Earth and at which point the precious fuel can be extracted.

Considered by many to be a 'miracle fuel', Helium 3 has almost no disadvantages as a fuel source. It's non-radioactive -- making it perfect for clean fusion reactors -- and it's also incredibly powerful with only tiny quantities being required.

The Mail Online gives the example that just 40 tonnes of the substance could power the entire United States for a whole year.

Of course the big question is when will this start? Well China hasn't announced any plans to establish a mining colony on the Moon any time soon but researchers in the US have already started calculating the approximate cost for such and endeavour.

With each tonne of Helium 3 having an estimated value of $3bn it's already considered an economically viable prospect with the total R&D cost for building a fusion plant and creating the necessary spacecraft at $20bn.

PICS: Space Is Incredible
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