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Helium resources of Mare TranquillitatisWisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics, Univ. of Wisc., Madison, Wisc. Mare Tranquillitatis, about 300000 sq km in area, is currently the most promising lunar source of He-3 for fueling fusion power plants on Earth. About 60 pct. of the mare regolith consists of particles 100 microns or less in diameter. Helium and other gases derived from the solar wind are concentrated in the fine size fractions. Studies of very small craters indicate that the average regolith exceeds 3 m in areas away from larger craters and other mare features not amenable to mining. There is no evidence of decrease of helium content of regolith and depth. Helium is known to be enriched in regoliths that are high in TiO2 content. Remote sensing indicates that about 90 pct. of Mare Tranquillitatis is covered by regolith ranging from about 6 to +7.5 pct. TiO2; inferred He contents range from 20 to at least 45 wppm total helium (7 to 18 wppb He-3). Detailed studies of craters and inferred ejecta halos displayed on high resolution photographs of the Apollo 11 and Ranger 8 areas suggest that as much as 50 pct. of the mare regolith may be physically minable, on average, with appropriate mining equipment. Assuming that the average thickness of regolith is 3 m, and that 50 pct. of the mare area is minable, the He-3 content of minable regolith containing 20 to 45 wppm total He is estimated at about 94,000 tonnes.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cameron, Eugene N.
(Wisconsin Univ. Madison, WI, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Arizona Univ., Resources of Near-Earth Space: Abstracts
Subject Category
Lunar And Planetary Exploration
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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