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Picture of the Week: It’s A Miner Thing, and They’re a Miner King September 10, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in Base Race, China, Fusion Power, Helium-3, Integration, Picture of the Week, Russia.
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From the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Fusion Technology Institute (by way of the European Space Agency) comes an artist’s rendition of a Helium-3 miner.

Helium-3 is a resource that is rare on Earth, but plentiful on the moon. It’s drawn a lot of interest, including officially from China and Russia, as the primary fuel for fusion power, which is something of the ultimate power source: clean and efficient, one shuttle’s load of Helium-3 from the Moon would be roughly enough to power the United States for one year. And that’s just one load!

While fusion probably won’t turn up until around 2050, that’s about the time we’re expected to be running out of fossil fuels and potentially in need of a new energy source. So, the idea among Russia, China, the U.S., and potential commercial efforts would be to get a headstart on collecting the fuel by stockpiling it early, and developing some kind of dominance over the resource in order to gain leverage (and massive profits).

So, as a result, even though we might not be seeing fusion power itself for a while, we’ll be seeing (and hearing about) miners like the one above much sooner.

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