Feeds

China plans moon-walk for 2017

Hunting helium-3

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

China is planning to send a manned mission to the moon as early as 2017, according to reports, to investigate the amount of helium-3 in the lunar soil. China first put humans in space in 2003, and has recently completed a second, longer, manned stint in orbit.

Following the success of the latest mission aboard the Shenzhou 6 craft, Chinese space agency planners say that they are now developing another four space craft with a view to building a permanent Chinese space station, and eventually going to the moon.

China says its first lunar orbiter could be ready for lift-off as early as 2007, Reuters reports. It also plans to launch its next manned mission in 2007, which could feature China's first ever space walk.

The attraction of the moon is not purely scientific. Establishing a base of operations could potentially be very profitable.

Helium-3 has great potential as a non-polluting fuel source, but there is virtually none on Earth. The moon, meanwhile is relatively rich in the isotope.

In 2000 researchers reported they had proved helium-3 fusion could work, but acknowledged that it is still a long way from being ready to produce power. Although technology to exploit helium-3 is not yet in place, its value could be astronomical (no pun intended) as a replacement for oil and gas. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.