Saturday, June 28, 2008

Helium 3: Lunar Abundance and Distribution


Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIX (2008) 1049

ABSTRACT- Helium-3 (3He) is expected to be the cleanest fuel of choice for potential 21st century fusion reactors, because its reaction is efficient and produces low residual radioactivity. 3He is very rare on the Earth and much concentrated in the lunar regolith. It is possibly the most valuable resource on the Moon.

As we had known, the mineral ilmenite [FeTiO3] retains helium much better than other major lunar ma-terials. The more mature soils should contain high con-centration of 3He, because they have been exposed to the solar wind longer and contain greater amounts of fine-grained aggregates that absorb 3He. A map of implanted 3He abundance distribution on the Moon is constructed in this paper. The map is calibrated using a correlation between the 3He concentration and the TiO2 concentration and maturity index Is/FeO of lunar re-golith.

The distributions of the TiO2 concentration and the regolith maturity Is/FeO are derived from the multi-spectral lunar digital image model (DIM) of the Moon in five spectral ranges (415, 750, 900, 950, 1000 nm wavelengths), which was obtained.

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