Simulation of Helium-3 Extraction from Lunar IlmeniteKnowledge of the trapping mechanisms and diffusion characteristics of solar-wind implanted isotopes in the minerals of the lunar regolith will enable the optimization of the processes to extract solar wind gases from regolith particles. Extraction parameters include the temperature and duration of extraction, particle size, and gas yield. Diffusion data will increase the efficiency and profitability of future mining ventures. This data will also assist in optimizing the evaluations of various potential mining sites based on remote sensing data. For instance, if magnesian ilmenite (Mg,Fel.,Ti03) is found to retain He better than stoichiometric ilmenite (FeTi03), remote sensing data for Mg could be considered in addition to Ti and maturity data. The context of the currently discussed work is the mining of helium-3 for potential use as a fuel for fusion energy generation. However, the potential resources deposited by the solar wind include hydrogen (and derived water), helium-4, nitrogen and carbon. Implantation experiments such as those performed for helium isotopes in ilmenite are important for the optimized extraction of these additional resources. These experiments can easily be reproduced for most elements or isotopes of interest.
Kuhlman, K. R. (Wisconsin Univ. Madison, WI, United States)
Kulcinski, G. L. (Wisconsin Univ. Madison, WI, United States)
Schmitt, H. H. (Wisconsin Univ. Madison, WI, United States)