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The Importance of Helium3 as an Energy Resource: Part Two

Updated on June 30, 2016
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Science, nature and the environment, with regard to human impact, are subjects to which Chris applies his passions for research and writing.

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Will The U.S Ever Return to the Moon?

In two previous articles, I have written about The Helium Shortage and Mining the Moon for Helium-3. It is clear, at least to this writer, that multiple nations and private companies have their sights set on colonizing the moon. I'm not talking about a distant, science fiction future either. The reality is right on top of us, at least if you take the disclosed plans of those involved seriously. And why shouldn't we? Billions of dollars are being spent on R&D as I write and as you read. But why are we hearing nearly nothing about this in the mainstream media?

I first discovered the under-reporting of this story as I was researching my article on mining the moon. The following video was one of my sources. If you'd like, watch the entire thing to get an overview of the subject. For the purposes of this article, the portion of the video from 4 minutes on is of interest. You can drag the video timeline indicator to 4 minutes and watch from there.

A Homer Hickam Novel About Mining Helium3 on the Moon

Crater (A Helium-3 Novel)
Crater (A Helium-3 Novel)

"Long haul trucking on the moon.....with raiders, romance and a secret mission.....high adventure on the space frontier." Kirkus Review

 

A Big Story Ignored By Big Media

I searched the Vanderbuilt Television News Archive from July, 1969 to July, 2012 for articles on the broad search term, helium. There were fifty results. Three spoke of a helium shortage, two of the U.S. Government selling off its helium holdings and one negative article about experiments with helium fusion. That was it.

When I speak of under reporting this issue, I mean by the big news outlets. ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and FOX News. Where have they been. I was able to find articles on mining the moon for helium 3 in some secondary news sources.

An article in Discovery News (Discovery Channel, Discovery Communications LLC) titled Pillaging the Moon for the Promise of Space Energy puts the spotlight on mining the moon for Helium 3, but conspicuously leaves out specific plans by anyone to begin doing so anytime, let alone the near future.

An article in the Ecologist, titled Plans to strip mine the moon may soon be more than just science-fiction. This article, too, only hints at specific plans, dates and nations/companies to be involved.

On Discovery Communication's site known as Seeker, the following article appears: The Moon Was Made for Harvesting (Helium3)

A Homer Hickam Novel About Mining Helium3 on the Moon

And Finally, A Clarifying Article

This story came out on January 26, 2012 on ABC News with the title Newt Gingrich Proposes Moon, Mars Flights: A Reality Check. The article links Gingrich's comments with a George W. Bush era program called Constellation. So why was Gingrich ridiculed for simply endorsing and promising to follow through with a plan that had been in place and was being pursued by the Bush administration? And what happened to the project Constellation? It was scrapped by the Obama administration with the exception of The Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, which has become the focus of the space program during the Obama administrations. In his April 15, 2010 address to NASA, President Obama said, concerning objections about the US not returning to the moon, that “We’ve been there before, Buz (Aldrin, in attendance) has been there before. There's a lot more of space to explore.”

The Day After Our Last Election on November 7, 2012

Here is an article dated November 8, 2012, the day after the national elections in the United States. NASA may unveil new manned missions to the moon. It is very clear in this article that, while not the emphasis of the US space program, further moon exploration has been put back on the agenda, but there is nothing mentioned in the article about mining helium-3 on the moon.

Shall we forget what this man started?

"Now is the time...for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth." - John F. Kennedy
"Now is the time...for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on Earth." - John F. Kennedy

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Non-Fiction About America's Space Program

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier
Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier

America’s space program is at a turning point. After decades of global primacy, NASA has ended the space-shuttle program, cutting off its access to space. No astronauts will be launched in an American craft, from American soil, until the 2020s, and NASA may soon find itself eclipsed by other countries’

 

Some Conclusions by this Author

It is clear that in the late 1990s and early 2000s there was a considerable drive by the U.S. Government toward mining helium-3 on the moon. Other countries were also moving in the same direction as were private sector companies. The U.S. Government has publicly pulled out of the race, encouraging the private sector to continue.

The silence of the media through the early 2000s has led the American citizens into complete ignorance about the potential of mining the moon for helium-3. It appears as though there is still no intention for the U.S. Government to be involved in such an endeavor.

Are Russia, China, India, Japan and Germany going to throw in the towel as well? I am not saying that mining the moon is a great idea or a bad idea, but is it wise for us to allow these countries to leave us in the space dust? If they succeed in bringing back helium-3 from the moon, and subsequently use it as the primary energy source for their countries, where will that leave the U.S? Will we be left burning fossil fuels and using windmills and solar panels when we could have had the cleanest energy, although expensive to acquire, that the universe has offered us up to this point?

Author's Note

As of late 2013, China has arrived on the moon. One of their objectives is to research the possibility of mining helium 3. The race has begun and China is out to an early lead. Read more on China's Chang'e 3 Moon Mission, which is in progress as I write, go to my article,

As of mid 2016, The private company, MoonEx (Moon Express) is scheduled to place a lander on the moon in 2017. Goal? First step in mining the moon for helium3 and other elements and minerals.

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    • cam8510 profile image
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      Chris Mills 4 years ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

      pstraubie48, Thank you for taking time to read and comment. I would still be out of the loop, but because I do content writing for Textbrokers, I chose to write an article for a client on the subject of the shortage of helium. From there, I simply kept researching. Let me know if you find anything new and interesting.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is a topic now that I must research. I have not read anything about this previously so feel somewhat , no, feel completely out of the loop. The question you pose...should we allow other countries to leave us in the space dus??? is well taken. Thanks for sharing this. Off to research. ps

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