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Featured article: Helium

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Helium is a component of the solar wind, and hence is one of the volatiles found (in parts per million level) in Lunar regolith. It is a Noble gas in group 18 and is the second element in the Periodic Table of the Elements. This element has two stable isotopes: 3 and 4.

Helium 3 is a rare isotope of the element Helium, consisting of a nucleus with two protons and one neutron.

It has been proposed that 3He might be a possible fuel for a Nuclear Fusion reactor to produce energy using the thermo-nuclear reaction (Deuterium-Helium-3):

2H + 3He --> 4He + 1H+

This reaction has the advantage over the more-commonly proposed Deuterium-Tritium fusion reaction...(read more)

Previously Featured Articles

Featured Article: JSC-1 | 20 September 2011


JSC-1, a lunar soil simulant, was developed and characterized under the auspices of the NASA Johnson Space Center. This simulant was produced in large quantities to satisfy the requirements of a variety of scientific and engineering investigations. JSC-1 is derived from volcanic ash of basaltic composition, which has been ground, sized, and placed into storage. The simulant's chemical composition, mineralogy, particle size distribution, specific gravity, angle of internal friction, and cohesion have been characterized and fall within the ranges of lunar mare soil samples. ...(read more)

Featured Article: Moon Zoo | 11 May 2010

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Moon Zoo is a crowdsourcing project from the Zooniverse community that uses images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Activities include counting craters, noting blocky craters, and checking relative differences between boulder-producing craters, and...(read more)

Featured article: Cratering on the Moon | 02 November 2008

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Craters cover the surface of the moon and are the result of hyper-velocity impacts by meteorites. The velocity of meteorites upon impact varies, but is generally between 10 and 40 km/sec. This number is a combination of the ‘approach velocity’ and the ‘escape velocity.’ The approach velocity of objects refers to the velocity of the object with respect to the moon. This varies with the type of object (for example, long period comets generally have a higher approach velocity than short period comets) and the direction with which it approaches the moon (for example, if it approaching the moon ‘head on,’ it will have a higher approach velocity than...(read more)

Featured Article: Volatiles | 05 August 2008


The primary resource of value to humans on the Moon is the volatile components found in the regolith. These are all the components that are gases at room temperature. Most of the volatiles have been deposited in the top layers of the Moon's surface by the solar wind over geologic time. A notable exception to this is Argon. the concentration of Argon in lunar soil is much higher than found in the solar wind, so must come from a different source. Especially, the isotope Argon-40. It is presently believed that the Argon-40 comes from radioactive decay of Potassium and/or Krypton deep within the lunar mantle or core(read more)

Featured Article: Sintered Regolith | 29 June 2008

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Sintered regolith falls into the category of ceramic materials as sintering is the process most common to ceramics. When bricks are made from clay on Earth, first the bricks are heated long enough and hot enough to drive out the water. Then the heating is increased to cause partial melting or vitrification which results in the edges of adjacent grains being bonded together once they have cooled. The unmelted particles provide a stable shape and size during the process which involves some shrinkage and a decrease in porosity.

Experiments in radiant heating of regolith simulant have been carried(read more)

Featured Article: KREEP | 14 May 2008

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KREEP is an acronym used in geochemistry to represent a mixture of K-potassium, REE-rare earth elements, and P-phosphorus. It is not only the main source of these elements on the moon, but also many other trace elements such as uranium, thorium, fluorine, chlorine, and zirconium.


So to get alloy ingredients for workable metals, nutrients for agriculture, industrial reagents and much more, special concentrations such as ilmenite and KREEP will play a vital role." - Peter Kokh (read more)