Mainland High School
Cutting the Cord: ISTF 07-1726
Introduction
As kids, many of us played telephone with two cans and a string believing the best way for us to bridge long distances was with a common piece of string. And why wouldn’t we continue to think that this is the best way to do it? After all, we have grown up in a world where there are wires overhead and underground from the wall to the lamp or the phone or the television or the computer. Surely this was the only way to power our world and be ‘connected’.

As our demands for more freedom began to cut the cords with which we have always powered our world, we began to develop more powerful batteries and more efficient devices requiring their power. The problem of recharging those batteries remained with the cord. Still the means by which we power our world.

Generating that power has become more and more problematic as we have come to realize the finite nature of fossil fuels and the search for alternative sources of energy have come to the forefront of technological endeavors.

Many bold and ambitious projects have been proposed. Among them there have been wind power, solar power, tidal power, and hydroelectric power, but one of the most exciting proposals for generating enough energy for our ever increasing demand has been clean fusion using Helium-3. This alternative to conventional fission reactions for generating nuclear power have piqued the interest of the energy community and the academic community alike. The only problem is finding an abundant source of Helium-3.

As some researchers and scientists went to the ends of the earth to find such a supply, others turned their attention to the heavens, specifically the moon. It is speculated that there is enough Helium-3 on the moon to power the planet for the next thousand years. As one can imagine, the next problem is finding an efficient way to harness that energy and bring it back to earth for use.

A number of ideas have been suggested. A colony, a container system using conventional rockets, the space shuttle and even a Maglev system for sending and returning containers without the need to put a human presence on the moon. Some have gone so far as to design lunar systems and vehicles for excavating the lunar surface and extracting the precious Helium-3 from the dust. But how do we get it back here and do we even need to.

Is it possible to just send the energy back and not the dust or the Helium-3?


 


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