The hunt for Helium 3
The conquest of the energy resources of space
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD, THERE WAS HELIUM 3
THE SUBJECT OF MUCH ENVY
Naturally, as for any rare Earth element, the demand is enormous while the supply is all too limited. Just a few years ago, scientists and the military were still able to procure quantities of this gas without too much trouble. During the Cold War, when the United States and the USSR were busy producing nuclear weapons with a vengeance, helium 3 was considered nothing more than a residue of tritium decay, one of the elements used in making the famous hydrogen bomb. And, to be frank, the remains, well, they didn't interest anyone.
Then over time, with the work of some added to the discoveries of others, the properties of helium 3 became apparent to all. As making bombs was out of the question now that the squabble was over, scientists found a way of decaying tritium and obtaining helium 3 without having to build machines capable of blowing up the Earth in a trice.
But the problem was that there was not enough tritium to make the amounts of helium 3 required, as it is also very rare in its natural state on Earth. In keeping with the economics of scarcity of resources, there followed a rather dizzying price hike in 2010, with the market value of helium 3 going from 150 dollars per liter to figures touching 5000 dollars today. 
THE NEW "HELDORADO"
FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, FROM PLUTO TO URANUS?
 Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space, d'Harrison H. Schmitt, ed : Springer, ISBN-13: 978-0387242859
 The Astronomical Journal is a peer-reviewed monthly scientific journal specialized in all domains of Astronomy and published by the University of Chicago Press on behalf of the American Astronomical Society.(Ref wikipedia : http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astronomical_Journal)
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Tuesday 18 December 2012
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