Former DRDO scientist A Sivathanu Pillai, who headed Brahmos missiles project, believes that India will be able to establish a base on the surface of the Moon in next ten years for extraction of Helium-3. His statement has some days after India's mission Chandrayaan-2 crash-landed on the lunar surface, eventually losing communication from Earth station.
"In the space programme, we are one of the four countries that have complete mastery over technology,'' he said in a programme "War and Peace" on DD news. Pillai who was at the helm of managing the Brahmos Missiles program further added, "India will be able to set up a factory on Moon to process huge reserves of precious raw material and bring the extracted Helium-3 to Earth. Helium-3 will be the new energy material for the future."
Helium-3 is a non-radioactive material and it is largely speculated that it has the capacity to produce 100 times more energy than Uranium which makes Helium-3 as a vital future energy source. It is considered as a safer isotope for nuclear energy in comparison to Uranium as it releases large amounts of energy without causing the surrounding material to become radioactive.
However, one of the major challenges is the temperature as the temperatures required to achieve helium-3 fusion reactions are much higher than in traditional fusion reactions.
Pillai further added that India's base on the Moon will also "become a hub for future launches" for missions to other planets in the solar system. Lately, the potential of Helium-3 has drawn interest in the US, Russia and China to create a base on Moon and India is expected to follow the exploration.
He also said, "Now, there are interests from the US, Russia and China to create the base on Moon, (so) India will naturally follow". The US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is planning to send two Astronauts - a woman and a man - to the Moon by 2024 through its Artemis mission as a part of their future exploration.