India has yet to take its first step on the moon, but the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is thinking of another innovative lunar mission that opens up new possibilities in the area of alternate energy generation.
ISRO plans to tap Helium-3 rich lunar dust and use it to generate energy to meet India’s requirements, by 2030.
Image for representation. Source: Pixabay
Sivathanu Pillai, professor at ISRO and former chief of BrahMos Aerospace, mentioned the plans in February, reports Live Mint. During a conference in New Delhi, he said that mining lunar dust was a priority for the organisation.
The moon is an abundant source of Helium-3, a gas with tremendous potential for use in the energy sector. While the Earth’s magnetic field prevents the solar-win driven gas from settling on the planet, it is found in large quantities on the planet’s natural satellite.
According to the European Space Agency, “It is thought that this (Helium 3) isotope could provide safer nuclear energy in a fusion reactor, since it is not radioactive and would not produce dangerous waste products.”
India is, however, not the first country to set its sights on the moon. Mining lunar dust has long been a subject of discussion and debate among the nations of the world. In recent news, NASA reportedly received inquiries about lunar mining from the Trump administration. Business leaders like Peter Thiel (co-founder of Paypal) and organisations like the Shackleton Energy Company too are invested in mining the moon for lunar resources.
In expressing its urge to join lunar energy mining, India hopes to cut down on the reliance on energy exports. Presently, it takes more than $100 billion to import energy for Indian requirements and the figure is expected to go up to $300 billion by 2030.
ISRO has recently been on a roll, successfully launching 104 satellites to developing tools for predicting natural calamities. They have more than a decade to launch the programme, and their success will not only be an achievement for India, but will also make a positive impact on the environment.
Note: In keeping with reports that Sivathanu Pillai’s statements were taken out of context, we have reached out to a spokesperson at ISRO to confirm whether the organisation is working on a lunar mining project. This article will be updated in accordance to the response received from the team.