Moon Mining Startup, Interlune,  Eyes Valuable Resource: Helium-3

Helium-3 moon buggy

In a groundbreaking development for space exploration, a startup called Interlune, co-founded by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, has set its sights on mining the moon for a rare and valuable resource: helium-3.

Helium-3, a stable isotope of helium, holds immense potential for various applications on Earth, including neutron detection, quantum computing, and medical imaging.

Its scarcity on our planet has driven up costs, but the moon presents a unique opportunity due to its abundance of this precious element.

Schmitt, the only professional geologist to have walked on the moon, recognized the potential of lunar dust, including helium-3, during his 1972 mission. Decades of research and analysis have led to the founding of Interlune, with Schmitt as executive chairman.

The primary source of helium-3 on the moon is the solar wind, which has bombarded the lunar surface for billions of years. Unlike on Earth, where helium-3 is rare and expensive, the moon offers a vast reservoir of this valuable resource.

Interlune’s mission involves developing innovative technologies to extract helium-3 from lunar regolith. Their proposed method includes a solar-powered robotic vehicle equipped to dig trenches, scoop up regolith, and separate desired elements, particularly helium-3.

While mining the moon may seem like science fiction, Interlune has made significant strides in turning this vision into reality. With $18 million in seed funding and partnerships with established space companies, they are poised to make history.

The potential implications of helium-3 extraction are far-reaching. In addition to serving industries such as quantum computing, Interlune’s success could pave the way for abundant clean energy through nuclear fusion reactors without the harmful by-products associated with traditional nuclear power.

Critics have raised questions about the feasibility and profitability of moon mining. However, Interlune’s focus on resources with immediate value in the current Earth economy sets them apart from other space ventures.

Schmitt, now 88, remains optimistic about the future of helium-3 extraction. He believes that the momentum for private-sector initiatives in space has reached a critical mass, and Interlune is at the forefront of this exciting new frontier.

The world watches anxiously as Interlune prepares to embark on its lunar mission. The prospect of tapping into the moon’s vast resources opens up endless possibilities for scientific discovery and technological advancement.

Interlune’s pursuit of helium-3 mining represents a significant advancement in humanity’s space exploration. Their innovative approach and unwavering determination position them to unlock the moon’s potential and revolutionize industries on Earth.

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