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Old 2012-12-28, 07:31   #19
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May 2003
Down not across

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Originally Posted by Dubslow View Post
If we ever get fusion figured out, I've heard the moon is chock-full of helium-3.
You've been misinformed.

AFAWK, the top few centimetres of the lunar regolith contains a tiny amount of helium captured from the solar wind. A tiny fraction of that is 3He. Extracting the 3He would be very expensive. About the only things to the advantage of mining lunar helium is that the moon presents a large collecting area and it's been collecting the solar wind for a loing time. The moon is relatively close by at the bottom of a relatively gentle gravity well but collectors in earth orbit are even better in those respects.

The atmospheres of the gas giants, on the other hand, contain several per cent helium at a pressure or temperature of anything you would like, within reason. They are a long way from here but that impacts only latency, not capacity. The disadvantages are their ferocious gravity wells and the lack of any solid surface which you didn't bring with you.

Did you not realise that I had an ulterior motive in suggesting a mission for a long-term exploration of the Jovian atmosphere?

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2012-12-28 at 07:33 Reason: fix minor grammatical error
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