Most of us know we have used up many of the natural resources of the earth and need to cut back and take sustainability into the equation. One of the ways I do this is to purchase used when I need to replace something. That isn’t always possible but I give it my best effort. When we purchase new products it’s not just the packaging and materials we bring home with us that used our precious resources. it is reported that 2/3 of the total resources used in a product are used in the manufacturing process, these resources are released back into the waste stream through the air, water and ultimately into the landfills.
Where am I going with this?
Well, it’s finally happened, we’ve finally outgrown the earth. NASA is currently accepting applications from private companies to begin mining the moon for rare resources such as helium 3 and rare earth metals. Just take a look at the land we’ve mined here on earth, we’ve destroyed it. Now we are about to destroy our own moon to continue to live the lifestyle we have become accustomed to having.
Why do we need Helium 3? Helium 3 is a gas which comes from the sun and is blown by solar winds through the solar system. While our atmosphere shields us from it the same isn’t true for the moon. If we bring enough back and separate it from Helium 4 we could provide clean fuel to run a fusion reactor. The moon is believed to have 1 million tons of Helium 3 on the surface and by using only 40 metric tons of this per year we could provide energy for the US for one year.
Rare earth metals are used in many products we use every day. Currently China has the largest quantity of these as they are the by-products of other mining. The uses include magnets for wind turbines, LCD screens, cathode tubes, fiber optic cable, a component of fuel cells. In addition the following products contain rare earth metals: Rare earth metals and alloys that contain them are used in many devices that people use every day such as computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting, armored vehicle plating and much more.