The October 2004 issue of Popular Mechanics has a fascinating article about mining the moon for helium-3, which can be used to generate electricity via fusion. According to the article, deuterium-helium-3 fusion gives off protons, which can be easily converted directly to electricity with an efficiency of around 70%. The author of the article, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt, suggests that mining helium-3 from the surface of the moon provides humanity a compelling -- and profitable -- reason to return to space.



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