After Mangalyaan, India wants to be the first to explore the dark side of the moon

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) turned some heads by becoming the first country to enter the into orbit around Mars on its first attempt, and now it wants to be the first to explore the dark side of the moon. Yes, you know, the same side where the Transformers found Sentinel Prime in that movie.

And, it’s not just about going where no nation has gone before. The moon apparently has abundant supplies of a resource that not only, India’s energy demands, but the whole world’s - an isotope called Helium-3.

What is helium-3?

Everyone’s heard of nuclear energy. And, it’s also fairly well known that the reason that many are apprehensive about fusion reactors is because of the possible impacts of radiation. And, of course, the toxic waste.

Helium-3, on the other hand, is speculated to take away these harmful effects of nuclear energy.

That being said, it’s only because of its efficient energy generation capabilities that its an economically viable option to even consider mining it on the moon. First off, there isn’t really a lot of it on Earth. The moon, on the other hand, has nearly a million metric tons of it according to reports.

But here’s the thing, nobody even knew that the isotope was for real until moon samples from the Apollo missions were analysed. And, just because something exists, doesn’t necessarily mean that we have the technology to use it.

Anti-climatic

This isn’t the first time that there’s been a fuss over mining helium-3. Russia had plans back in 2006 to have an industrial plant up and running on the moon by 2020. That clearly hasn’t happened.

Even the US has expressed its aspirations to establish a base on the moon with helium-3 mining as their main prerogative.

That being said, the Chinese probe Queqiao has already been launched and reports state that it could be the relay point between the dark side of the moon and Earth.

India’s rover, as of now, is scheduled to go up with the Chandrayaan-2 in October this year. It’s going to have a lander and an orbiter on board as well. The launch was originally scheduled for March.
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