Feeds

China to map 'every inch' of the moon

There's Helium-3 in them thar hills

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

China has announced plans to map "every inch" of the surface of the Moon as part of its ambitious space-exploration programme.

The NSA (National Space Administration) also made no bones about China's commercial interest in space, telling reporters that the Moon holds the key to future generation of energy.

Ouyang Ziyuan, head of the first phase of lunar exploration, is quoted on government-sanctioned news site ChinaNews.com describing plans to collect three dimensional images of the Moon. He also outlined plans to exploit the vast quantities of Helium-3 thought to lie buried in lunar rock.

"There are altogether 15 tons of helium-3 on Earth, while on the Moon, the total amount of Helium-3 can reach one to five million tons," he said.

"Helium-3 is considered as a long-term, stable, safe, clean and cheap material for human beings to get nuclear energy through controllable nuclear fusion experiments. If we human beings can finally use such energy material to generate electricity, then China might need 10 tons of helium-3 every year and in the world, about 100 tons of helium-3 will be needed every year."

The country's space programme is split into three phases - the first is "circling the Moon", the second "landing on the Moon", and the third "returning to Earth".

Earlier this year, the Chinese space agency outlined plans to launch the first probe in the second half of 2007. It has now also given a few more details of its plans for phase two, which will see an unmanned rover land on the lunar surface in 2010 and "meticulously" survey the area in which it lands. A sample-return mission is slated for 2012. ®

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?
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
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
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.