Of all the traits of capitalism and capitalists — greedy, self centered, cold,mean, devoid of compassion — the one trait that has not been mentioned is that for the most part they are chicken shit cowards. As this piece from Raw Story via The Guardian says:
The question is, why haven’t the moon’s resources been thoroughly plundered by now? Why hasn’t it provided us with the energy necessary to colonize the rest of space? I’ll tell you why: it’s because capitalism is weak and timid.
We know this to be true since no one on Wall Street will do anything without government guarantees. So it takes government to do those things that capitalism refuses to do. Those items that do not have have a guarantee of immediate returns on investment. Like building roads and transportation systems and putting people into space and education.
Energy will be the greatest need now and into the future and our attempts and generating have been increasingly fraught with ecological impacts that are increasingly more disastrous, as the Fukushima reactors are showing. Add to this the ongoing pollution and carbon dioxide greenhouse gases intensifying climate change. Fusion reactors of the type usually envisioned have been promised for well over 60 years and are still only a dream since there too many obstacles to make them practical. Solar and wind farms are only a stop gap measure in my and others minds.
A search for a clean and safe energy source is needed but no one seems to be interested in finding one..that is until now. This is where Helium-3 comes in. From Wikipedia.
Helium-3 (He-3) is a light, non-radioactiveisotope of helium with two protons and one neutron. It is rare on Earth, and it is sought for use in nuclear fusion research. The abundance of helium-3 is thought to be greater on the Moon (embedded in the upper layer of regolith by the solar wind over billions of years), though still low in quantity (28 ppm of lunar regolith is helium-4 and from one ppb to 50 ppb is helium-3), than the solar system’s gas giants (left over from the original solar nebula).
Helium-3 is transmitted with solar winds, but Earth’s magnetic field pushes the isotope away. Thanks to its negligible magnetic field, the moon doesn’t suffer from this fate, allowing Helium-3 to build up in regolith, the layer of rock and dust covering the moon. The existence of Helium-3 on the moon is verified by samples retrieved on Apollo and Luna missions. Geologist-turned-astronaut Harrison Schmitt acquired and analyzed over 200 pounds of lunar rock acquired during 1972′s Apollo 17 mission.
Helium-3 exists on our Earth, but in extremely small quantities. Tritium (hydrogen with a total of two neutrons, or deuterium with an extra neutron if you prefer) naturally decays into Helium-3 over time. Helium-3 is also created, oddly enough, as a byproduct of nuclear weapons testing. The United States’ Helium-3 reserves are just shy of 30 kilograms, much less than the theoretical 25 tons of helium-3 necessary to provide for the energy needs of a country our size for one year.
Helium-3 reactors can be clean and simpler and restively non-hazardous. One way is to use Helium-3 in the nuclear fusion reactor: