Former astronaut, Apollo moonwalker, geologist and former Senator Harrison Schmitt has a modest plan to solve the world’s energy problems. All we need is $15 billion over 15 years and some fusion reactors that have yet to be invented. And we’ll need a moon base.
The world is running short on several metals, but perhaps more disconcerting is the impending loss of the noble helium. The stuff of birthday balloons, superconducting magnets and Mickey Mouse voices could get a lot more expensive in the near future, according to a Nobel Prize-winning scientist.
A large Cold War supply of helium-3 has begun to rapidly run out, due to heavy demand from U.S. scientists who need the gas for neutron detectors and cryogenic experiments. Almost 60,000 liters of helium-3 were used in 2007 and 2008, compared to just 10,000 liters used annually about 10 years ago. A House subcommittee has been convened to search for a solution this week, New Scientist reports.