Trump announced US plans for mining on the moon. Let’s see if the game is worth the candle. In other words, what minerals are on the moon?
For starters, immediately discard the oil. It requires organics, and life on the moon has never been (until even the question is whether a living foot stepped in 1969 or is this a skillfully shot movie?). Minerals, however, require larger geophysical processes that are not on the moon. Therefore, we will talk about simpler elements.
In 2024, the Americans again want to land on the moon. The project will be invested $ 35 billion. Money must be beaten off.
Now, with regard to space, the rules adopted by the UN in 1979 are in effect. According to the resolution, outer space is in the public domain. Even Zimbabwe can claim its lunar site. If he manages to build a rocket, of course.
What lunar soil consists of
Soviet lunar rovers delivered soil from the moon from different places. Studies have shown that the lunar soil is rich in oxygen, because of this, many elements exist in the form of oxides.
Most of all in the lunar soil of silicon. In this way, the Moon is similar to the Earth – silicon makes up to 30% of the Earth’s crust. Then comes aluminum and calcium. Mining aluminum on the Moon and bringing it to Earth is not the most economically wise idea. Perhaps in the future aluminum will be needed to organize production on the moon itself.
The next place is iron. Of the most valuable is titanium. In some parts, the titanium content is many times greater than the earth’s soil. Titanium is a valuable metal, because it is comparable in strength to steel, only one and a half times its lighter. And does not rust.
But, in general, no surprises – the composition of the lunar soil is very close to earth. 20% more saturated with aluminum than the earth’s crust. But a little less iron. Actually, the identity of the basic elements in the composition of the crust is logical – the Moon, according to modern astrophysicists, broke away from the Earth in due time.
What minerals are on the moon
Helium for thermonuclear reactions. More precisely, the helium-3 isotope. This is really the element that is worth fighting for. It is necessary for thermonuclear reactions. When two helium-3 nuclei collide, helium-4 is formed, and the energy leaves in the form of photons and can be used.
In short, in the future, nuclear energy will work like reactions to the Sun. An ideal ecology, the output is no harmful waste, as it is now from uranium in nuclear energy.
0.02 grams of helium-3 will produce as much energy as 1 barrel of oil. Only 40 tons of this substance is more than enough to provide the United States with energy for a year. So far, nothing comparable in effect to such efficiency has existed on our planet! The approximate supply of helium-3 on the moon is 10 million tons. Enough for the United States to be provided with energy for 250 thousand years. By the way, similar estimates for Russia are about 20-30 tons.
One problem – helium-3 is quite expensive and rare on our planet. With us, it quickly dissipates due to the atmosphere. And on the moon helium-3 accumulates billions of years. It is going from the solar wind. The helium content in the lunar soil is approximately 100 times greater than on our planet.
In addition to the lack of helium-3, there are also no thermonuclear power plants. While all the reactions take place in the laboratory. But, most likely, the creation of thermonuclear energy is a matter of the near future.
Can precious metals be on the moon?
They can! Although no deposits were found. But here a couple of words need to be said about where the precious metals come from.
Gold, platinum and everything that is heavier than iron in the periodic table cannot appear in the bowels of the planet or even a star. Such metals are born only during the collision of large stars, the explosion of supernovae and the formation of neutron stars. And after that, meteorites, like spray after an explosion, carry these materials throughout the galaxy.
4 billion years ago, the Earth was literally shot by meteorites, which brought many valuable elements. The moon also regularly gets, so we can say with confidence that they will definitely find something from precious metals there. On the other hand, production costs will definitely not pay off, unlike the promising helium-3.
How else can you use the moon
Other useful uses for our satellite are in the medium term. In the next ten years – unlikely, but before the end of the century – it is very likely. So, what else can be done useful as part of the colonization of the moon.
Energy. There is a lot of it! Perhaps the most important thing is energy. And this even dropping the semi-fantastic scenario with helium-3. Just on the moon is the perfect cheap solar energy.
A bit of interesting math. According to the calculations of the American power engineers, in order to produce 1 petawatt of energy, on the Moon it is necessary to build a complex that costs $ 200 trillion.
To generate 1 petawatt on Earth, the solar energy complex will cost $ 8,000 trillion! It turns out that the Moon for energy production is 40 times more profitable than the Earth.