Monday, January 30, 2006

Will Russia Defeat America In Lunar Race? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Hat Tip: Lunar Soil)

After China expressed desires to establish a colony on the moon, it looks as if the US will have to face an old rival towards the lunar surface--one that may not only have the desire to beat America but the funding as well.

(Red Orbit) RUSSIA is planning to race America back to the moon--to mine a precious superfuel. [...]

They aim to set up a permanent base and dig for helium-3.

The substance is considered to be the perfect nuclear fuel as just 25 tons could power the US for a year with virtually no pollution or radioactivity.

Although no Russian cosmonaut has ever strolled upon the moons surface, the former Soviet Union is confident that they will be able to establish a lunar base by the year 2015. This is approximately three years ahead of NASA's projections, and five years ahead of China's.

Although considered irrelevant by some, Helium-3 could potentially become the next OPEC, something that may bring a smile towards nations dependent upon oil for fuel. China is already considering plans for mining the element for fuel, although there seems to be no public display of interest from NASA.

This comes as a surprise from an economical viewpoint, as lunar soil may be worth its weight in gold--if not more.

(ITAR-TASS) "There is nothing difficult from the engineer's point of view in the production of helium 3. It is only a matter of investments," [Russian Academy of Sciences member Erik Galimov] said.

"One ton of helium 3 is equivalent to 20 million tonnes of oil and costs about $10 billion by modern prices. It will cost only $20-40 million to deliver one ton of helium 3 to the Earth," the scientist said. (Source)

If there was any doubt as to why humanity should revisit its nearest neighbor, that doubt has probably been removed. Going back towards the lunar surface should be our highest priority after fighting the war on terror, as both policies affect the future of Earth's inhabitants.

If NASA is unable to stir up the American public to return back to the moon, the US may find itself dependent upon yet another OPEC fuel source and listed as a second rate space power.

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