Former Blue Origin employee hopes to get Hel-3 from the moon

For billions of years, the lunar surface has been bombarded by the solar wind, which carries high-energy particles including the coveted resource helium-3. Although the element is rare on Earth, it has recently been in demand across several industries, including those working on quantum computing and nuclear fusion reactors.

Hel-3 is considered so valuable that one company is willing to travel thousands of miles to the moon to get it. Seattle-based startup Interlune recently announced it has raised $15 million in funding as part of its plan to acquire and sell natural resources from the moon. According to reports, the company initially hopes to focus on collecting helium-3 and selling it to government and commercial customers in the national security, quantum computing, medical imaging and fusion energy industries. between months.

“Demand for Helium-3 continues to grow across emerging and potentially large industries,” Alexis Ohanian, one of the lead investors in Interlune’s latest funding round, said in a statement. We are investing in Interlune because access to abundant Hel-3 and other precious natural resources on the Moon and beyond will unlock or accelerate technological advances currently hampered by insufficient supply.”

Interlune was founded in 2020 by former Blue Origin president Rob Meyerson and former chief architect Gary Lai, as well as Harrison Schmitt, the only living member of NASA’s last manned lunar mission, Apollo 17. “For the first time in history, it is technically and economically feasible to harvest natural resources from the moon,” Meyerson said in a statement.

This is certainly possible, but companies still need to develop a way to achieve this. The latest round of funding is a good start, but there’s still a long way to go. Interlune is designing its first robotic lander mission that will verify helium-3 levels at the lunar site the company has chosen for its initial operations.

Although still in its infancy, Interlune hopes to usher in a new era of the lunar economy, essentially becoming the first company to harvest and sell natural resources extracted from the moon.according to Space Resources Exploration and Utilization ActA bill passed in 2015 states that any resource obtained in space is the property of the entity that extracted it.

idea Mining resources from the moon and other celestial bodies The idea has been around for a while, but few companies have taken substantial steps to make it happen. NASA recently announced its Plans to explore obtaining resources from the moon It will support its Artemis program over the next 10 years, hoping to establish large-scale lunar regolith mining by 2032 and extract resources such as water, iron and rare metals.

Space certainly has all the right things, but there’s still a lot of groundwork that needs to be done before we can start selling the resources of the universe. Since there are no regulations in place yet, the race to grab as many resources as possible carries the additional risk of changing the composition of the moon or other objects in space.

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