Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is buckling up to explore new horizons in the field of space research and nuclear technology as it plans to head towards the south side of the Moon in search of novel nuclear fuel reservoir that might turn out to be a billion-dollar jackpot if found.
While we have touched the floor of our natural oil fields, humans need to find ways to become independent from depending on fossil fuels and find feasible alternatives; one of the most powerful one is – nuclear energy. Perhaps the limitation of nuclear energy is it being an expensive and nonrenewable source of energy; which means, either we find a better alternative or we search for other reservoirs of nuclear energy. Taking the billion-dollar nuclear energy quest to a whole new level, ISRO is planning to expand its horizons beyond the realm of earthy earth and is taking it to the Moon.
IRSO is soon scheduled to launch a moon rover – the Chandrayaan-2 – the successor of Chandrayaan-1 which has successfully completed 3400 orbits and introduced a probe that searched for the presence of water for the first time on the surface of Moon. Just like Chandryaan-1, the yet-to-launch probe will consists of orbiter, lander and rover which will stay on the Moon’s surface for 14 days and collect and transmit the information necessary for analysis. During its stay on moon, the rover will explore and analyze the crust of moon to look for water and a helium isotope – helium-3 on the southern region of moon. ISRO has high hopes as the availability of helium-3 on earth is far less as compared to that on moon.
Countries actively involved in space research are facing severe competition among themselves and entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. The chairman of ISRO – K Sivan, has enthusiastically stated that they want to be the leading organization capable of bringing the energy sources from moon to Earth. For ISRO, rover landing is just a baby step towards its dream of launching a space station in the orbit while keeping it extremely cost efficient unlike the expensive projects of NASA. However, the main goal for now, is to search for reservoirs of helium-3 on earth’s natural satellite so that we can replace fossil fuels with lesser harmful and more efficient energy source – straight from the moon.