India’s lunar dreams are moving nicely with Chandrayaan-3, and it’s all set to make a soft landing on the Moon’s south pole come August 23.
Apathukatha Sivathanu Pillai, the former Chief Controller of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), spoke to the press recently and was hopeful about how things are going. He mentioned, “Having transitioned from a near 100 km orbit to 30 km, the descent to the moon is underway. I am confident it will achieve complete success,” in an interview with ANI.
Chandrayaan-3 and India’s energy ambitions
Pillai, who also held positions as the former CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace, drove home the importance of Chandrayaan-3. He clarified that this mission is a big deal, especially when figuring out what’s on the Moon – mainly in search of sniffing out Helium-3, which could be a game changer in the energy industry.
Helium-3 is an enhanced helium version with one neutron and two protons around its nucleus. Although not standard on Earth, it is found in some trace amounts around natural gas spots. However, it is much more common on the Moon, and other solar stars, thanks to nuclear fusion reactions on them.
Why Helium-3 is growing popular
Helium-3 has captured a lot of attention because of its potential as a fuel for the next level of nuclear fusion reactions. Fusion is the same process that keeps stars, like our sun, shining. If we can achieve this Earth, we might tap into an unlimited energy source that doesn’t come with the messy radioactive leftovers that today’s nuclear fission reactions leave behind.
We mainly deal with hydrogen isotopes like deuterium and tritium when discussing fusion. But Helium-3 steps in with its excellent neutron-and-proton combo. When mixed with deuterium, Helium-3 functions much cleaner and safer than traditional fusion.
A greener energy source with virtually limitless yield
This makes it a more innocent choice for energy. And on top of that, they give out charged particles that can be turned directly into electricity.
While Helium-3 has significant potential for cleaner and greener energy, we’re not quite there yet, at least on Earth. The reactors that can pull off using this fusion are still in their lab phase, and they’ve got a bunch of hurdles to jump.
People are getting hyped about Helium-3 as an energy superstar, and that excitement has folks talking about digging it up from the Moon. The Moon’s called a higher stash of Helium-3, all thanks to its face-off with the solar wind. This whole moon-mining idea is one of the big reasons why exploring the Moon and checking out its resources, like Chandrayaan-3’s doing, is getting much attention as a future energy solution.