REALITY CHECK: What if lunar HE3 *isn't* a magic bullet that will turn life into a magical fairy princess wonderland?

Republibot 3.0
Republibot 3.0's picture

A few weeks ago, I linked to an article by my new hero, SF Author Charles Stross. Today I do so again.

We've all heard about Helium Three being an economic justification for returning to the moon. If we go there and mine the stuff, we'll have limitless and cheap energy, *and* we'll be on the moon, too, both of which are better than we have now.

While I'm in favor of at least taking a stab at that because it sounds pretty cool, and better than any present alternative, it's become something of a meme in the past few years, and a somewhat unrealistic one. Mr. Stross points out why here in his standard "Cutting through the felgercarb" style.

For the record: I *do* think we need to go to the moon, I *do* think there's economic justification for it, and I *do* think it's worth experimenting with HE3. However, I've *never* said that HE3 is the cash crop we should be going for. I've always favored using the moon as a massive solar farm, converting the energy to microwaves, beaming it back to earth, reconverting it to electricity when it gets here, and using it to power entire continents. *That* strikes me as pretty solid reasoning, and quite a bit technically simpler than fusion technology.