24.02.2021 change 24.02.2021

Kraków start-up joins US nuclear firm to extract ‘rare’ helium-3 from Moon

Credit: Fotolia Credit: Fotolia

A Kraków start-up has teamed up with America’s US Nuclear Corp to go to the moon in search of helium-3 isotape.

Signing a letter of intent, Dr. Adam Jan Zwierzyński, CEO and co-founder of Kraków-based Solar System Resources Corporation said: “The agreement is historic. We believe that in the near future it will contribute to meeting the growing global energy demand and accelerate the development of the global space industry, especially in the area of space mining. 

“We also believe that it will contribute to the growth of innovation in Poland, encourage people to set up and invest in space start-ups, and encourage young people to choose technical studies. 

“We would like to ask the government for support for the promising space industry, accelerate work on signing a cooperation agreement with NASA, Poland's accession to the ARTEMIS program and the even more important ARTEMIS ACCORDS, for which we will continue our efforts.”

According to Solar System Resource Corporation, 200 tons of helium-3 would be enough to cover the global annual energy demand of all mankind. 

Helium-3 is also used in scientific research, cryogenics, quantum computers, MRI devices, as well as detectors of radioactive materials used at airports and border crossings.

Current helium-3 resources are a by-product of nuclear weapons maintenance, which can theoretically provide about 300 kg of helium-3 and produce about 15 kg of helium-3 per year. 

However, helium-3 is 100 million more times abundant on the Moon and is a renewable resource there, as the solar wind is constantly depositing it. 

US Nuclear Corp. CEO Bob Goldstein, said: “The potential profits are enormous because the substances in question are extremely rare on Earth and can be used in fusion energy generation, medical scanning, electronics, cars and cell phones. There is no guarantee that the first missions will pay off, but the next ones could generate billions or even trillions of dollars in profits.”

US Nuclear Corp. is a spin-off of the Manhattan Project. The company is involved in advanced US government and military projects, in the development of thermonuclear fusion energy and a fusion-based generator for the abundant production of low-cost medical isotopes, which are currently in very short supply.

According to the letter of intent, Solar System Resources Corporation, which wants to engage current and potentially new partners in the work on locating and acquisition of helium-3 on the Moon, will deliver 500 kg (0.55 ton) of the helium-3 isotope by 2028-32, and US Nuclear Corp. will receive the delivery.

The companies did not disclose the agreed price, but the current market price for helium-3 is 16.6 B$/ton.

(PAP)

Marek Matacz

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