China finds nuclear power source on the moon, triggers a space exploration competition


China claims to have found traces of helium-3 from some 140,000 lunar particles that the Change-5 mission brought to Earth. Photo / NASA / Live Science

BEIJING China claims to have found traces of helium-3 from some 140,000 lunar particles that the Chang’e-5 mission brought to Earth. For decades, scientists have been interested in helium-3 as a potential fuel source for nuclear fusion .

A fusion reaction is a type of energy production that occurs when two light atoms combine to form a heavier atom under extreme pressure and heat. Nuclear fusion reactions occur naturally inside stars, but humans have yet to find a fusion reactor capable of creating such a large amount of energy.

Helium-3 is a very promising fuel source for nuclear fusion reactions because it produces far less radiation and nuclear waste than other elements. According to the European Space Agency (ESA) the element helium-3 exists on Earth, but in relatively small quantities.

Read also; Find unidentified minerals on the moon, China names Changesite- (Y)

Quoted from the Live Science page, Saturday (09/24/2022), the content of helium-3 is considered to be much more abundant on the moon, where this element has been deposited directly into the soil layer on the moon for billions of years by the wind. solar. Chang’e-5’s discovery of a new helium-3 deposit on the near side of the moon could spark a global rush to plunder the moon’s mineral resources.

Even without a viable reactor to include it, the discovery of elemental helium-3 is expected to spark a race for resources on the moon. Several space explorers and private companies have expressed interest in exploring the moon for its helium-3, including the United States and China.

According to the Global Times, China’s state-owned news site, the discovery of this potential fuel source could help revolutionize clean and efficient energy production on Earth. This discovery coincided with the discovery of a new metal on the Moon in the form of small transparent crystals that Chinese scientists have called Changestite- (Y).

Read also; Discover new minerals on the moon, China is already on par with Russia and the United States

In early September, researchers from the International Mineralogical Association confirmed that the tiny lunar crystals have a never-before-seen composition and are related to other minerals found only on the moon or in meteors. The tiny transparent Changesite- (Y) crystal, over a billion years old and as wide as a human hair.

Researchers collected crystals from around 1.8 kilograms of moon rock in 2020 during the Chang’e-5 mission. This rock is the first lunar sample brought to Earth since 1976 and the first lunar sample ever collected from China.

According to Vice’s website, the discovery of the Changesite- (Y) crystal marks the sixth new mineral discovery identified on the moon and the first from China. The five previous discoveries were made by the United States or Russia.

(Spider web)

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