The south side of the moon contains waste-free nuclear energy that could be worth trillions of dollars. No country has ever gone there before. But India’s space agency - Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) wants to do what no one has done so far.
To study the potential for mining the trillion-dollar nuclear fuel that could meet the energy demands of the world for the next 250 years, ISRO will launch a rover Chandrayaan-2 in October 2018 as part of its mission moon.
“The countries which have the capacity to bring that source from the moon to Earth will dictate the process. I don’t want to be just a part of them, I want to lead them,’’ Bloomberg quoted ISRO chairman K Sivan as saying.
India is giving tough competition to the US, China, Japan, Russia and other private players like billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, who are racing to the moon, Mars and beyond for scientific research and commercial gains.
The mission, Chandrayaan-2, would further cement India’s place among the explorers of space. ISRO sees the rover landing as a step closer to its vision to put a space station in the orbit and sending Indian crew on the moon.
So far, China is the only country in this century to land a rover on the surface of the moon. China had achieved the feet with its Chang’e 3 mission in 2013. The dragon also plans to send a probe to the far side of the moon to explore possibilities of water and other precious natural resources like helium-3.
Like earth, the moon is not protected by the magnetic field and therefore it contains ample quantities of helium-3 due to the solar winds. The presence of helium-3 on the moon was first confirmed by the Apollo missions, and Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, who landed on the surface of the moon in 1972.
Under the mission Chandrayaan-2, ISRO is planning to send an orbiter, lander and a rectangular rover to study the surface and search for helium-3. According to research, there could be an estimated 1 million metric tons of helium-3 on the moon. And a quarter of that, if brought to earth, will be enough to meet the energy demands of the world for centuries.