lunar helium 3 (3He), a potential fuel for nuclear fusion
Today the Chinese are reaching for the moon. The first step, the launching of an unmanned lunar orbiter, is tentatively scheduled for April 17. A three-man mission will orbit the Earth later this year, and a spacewalk is planned for next year. Two years after that, the plan is to put down a lunar rover, followed in 2020 by a craft that will collect lunar samples and bring them home. Eventually Beijing wants to put people on the moon.....To Reach for the Moon - Newsweek: World News - MSNBC.com
.....A limitless source of clean, safe energy to feed their voracious economy. The stable isotope helium 3 (3He), a potential fuel for nuclear fusion, was first found in moon rocks brought back by the Apollo missions. It is one constituent of the "solar wind" constantly given off by the Sun. The stuff bounces off Earth's magnetic field, but the moon has no magnetic field, and its surface has been soaking up 3He for billions of years. If you could dig it up and put it into a fusion reactor you would get ordinary helium 4 (as in balloons), ordinary hydrogen (as in H2O) and an abundance of radioactivity-free energy.