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According to this article, a new space race is underway as countries rush to secure Helium-3, touted as "the miracle power source of the future."
Helium on the Moon?- 6/12/2009
Parties are divided as to whether it is a wise idea to "strip-mine the moon" for access to this fuel. Proponents say Heilum-3 is a potent, safe fuel that could be used to produce clean electricity. Critics say it is far too expensive and reckless to proceed with such a plan. One writer even goes so far as to say, "The worst-case scenario is we could see wars on Earth over the Moon’s resources."
Helium-3 is created by heating vast quantities of lunar soil or "regolith." One ton of Helium-3 is currently valued at $5 billion and could power New York for a year. Three fully loaded space shuttles could meet the entire planet's annual energy needs.
China leads the way, with India and Russia also stating that Helium-3 will be part of their energy futures. The U.S. plans to establish a Moon base by 2021. Private investors are also funding missions.
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