There is no urgent necessity today to extract helium 3, or other minerals on the Moon, a Russian expert said.
"There are no mineral resources, whose commercial delivery from the Moon would be effective, except helium 3. But we have no capabilities right now to enable nuclear fusion - even simpler nuclear fusion than that involving helium 3. Therefore, delivering helium from the Moon would be needless for the next several hundred years," Lev Zelyony, the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Space Research Institute, told Interfax .
France has just started building a thermonuclear reactor intended for deuterium and tritium fusion at a temperature of 100 million degrees, centigrade, he said. "This kind of fusion is unfeasible today. And helium 3 requires a temperature of almost 1 billion degrees. Planning this type of reaction would be premature now," the expert said.
"Even if we could learn using helium 3, investment in its mining and delivery from the Moon would be far greater than the profit to be gained from using it. This would be commercially inexpedient," he said.
Concerning other mineral resources, all of them can be found on Earth, Zelyony said. The Academy will therefore call a conference of the Space Council soon to answer, what may attract mankind on the Moon, he said.
Zelyony said he opposed hasty plans to launch commercial development of the Moon. "Many of the American corporations have announced plans to start developing the Moon commercially. But the Moon is a very fragile object. A cloud that formed after a stage from the Apollo spaceship fell on it, remained suspended above the Moon for 20 years," he said.
"Anyway, Man will some day return to the Moon and fly to Mars, which would be an act of self-assertion rather than a scientific endeavor," Zelyony said.