15.12.06

Race to the Moon for Nuclear Fuel | Is there ever enough money for these filthy Republicans?

Wired News: Race to the Moon for Nuclear Fuel:

NASA's planned moon base announced last week could pave the way for deeper space exploration to Mars, but one of the biggest beneficiaries may be the terrestrial energy industry.

Nestled among the agency's 200-point mission goals is a proposal to mine the moon for fuel used in fusion reactors -- futuristic power plants that have been demonstrated in proof-of-concept but are likely decades away from commercial deployment.

Helium-3 is considered a safe, environmentally friendly fuel candidate for these generators, and while it is scarce on Earth it is plentiful on the moon.

As a result, scientists have begun to consider the practicality of mining lunar Helium-3 as a replacement for fossil fuels.

'After four-and-half-billion years, there should be large amounts of helium-3 on the moon,' said Gerald Kulcinski, a professor who leads the Fusion Technology Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Last year NASA administrator Mike Griffin named Kulcinski to lead a number of committees reporting to NASA's influential NASA Advisory Council, its preeminent civilian leadership arm.

The Council is chaired by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Hagan 'Jack' Schmitt, a leading proponent of mining the moon for helium 3.

Schmitt, who holds the distance record for driving a NASA rover on the moon (22 miles through the Taurus-Littrow valley), is also a former U.S. senator (R-New Mexico).

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