China to map 'every inch' of the moon

There's Helium-3 in them thar hills


China has announced plans to map "every inch" of the surface of the Moon as part of its ambitious space-exploration programme.

The NSA (National Space Administration) also made no bones about China's commercial interest in space, telling reporters that the Moon holds the key to future generation of energy.

Ouyang Ziyuan, head of the first phase of lunar exploration, is quoted on government-sanctioned news site ChinaNews.com describing plans to collect three dimensional images of the Moon. He also outlined plans to exploit the vast quantities of Helium-3 thought to lie buried in lunar rock.

"There are altogether 15 tons of helium-3 on Earth, while on the Moon, the total amount of Helium-3 can reach one to five million tons," he said.

"Helium-3 is considered as a long-term, stable, safe, clean and cheap material for human beings to get nuclear energy through controllable nuclear fusion experiments. If we human beings can finally use such energy material to generate electricity, then China might need 10 tons of helium-3 every year and in the world, about 100 tons of helium-3 will be needed every year."

The country's space programme is split into three phases - the first is "circling the Moon", the second "landing on the Moon", and the third "returning to Earth".

Earlier this year, the Chinese space agency outlined plans to launch the first probe in the second half of 2007. It has now also given a few more details of its plans for phase two, which will see an unmanned rover land on the lunar surface in 2010 and "meticulously" survey the area in which it lands. A sample-return mission is slated for 2012. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Now that's wafer thin: Some manufacturers had less than five days of chip supplies, says Uncle Sam

    Components fabbed using 40nm-plus process nodes hit hard

    Hardware manufacturers hit hardest by the global semiconductor shortage had less than five days of chips in their inventories last year – and should expect supply chain issues to continue throughout 2022 – the US Department of Commerce said this week.

    Demand for semiconductors skyrocketed during the pandemic as folks purchased more PCs, laptops, and tablets to work or learn from home, and cloud giants scaled up their backend systems to cope. Supply, however, couldn't keep up. The median inventory of semiconductor buyers in 2019 was 40 days of supply. By 2021 that figure was down to less than five days for certain key US sectors, the department said in a report, while demand was up 17 per cent.

    Production was initially slowed at factories around the world due to shelter-at-home orders as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Some facilities had to temporarily shut down after they were hit with natural disasters, such as fires and snowstorms. But between Q2 2020 and the end of 2021 fabs were operating at over 90 per cent capacity and still couldn't meet global demand.

    Continue reading
  • Baidu's AI predictions for 2022: Autonomous driving! Quantum computing! Space! Human-machine symbiosis!

    Did a computer program tell them to write this?

    Baidu Research's AI-centric "Top 10 Tech Trends in 2022" report has outlined the Middle Kingdom megacorp's predictions for technology over the coming year.

    Baidu CTO Haifeng Wang describes AI as a "key driving force of innovation and development," thanks to rapidly evolving core technologies, cross-domain connectivity, and expanding applications.

    It's no surprise that the list focuses on AI given Baidu's business domain. The Beijing-based company's search engine captures over 70 per cent of the Chinese market while also developing other products, particularly AI research and cloud computing. The research arm takes a deeper look at its associated technologies. Think Google but Chinese.

    Continue reading
  • Nvidia reportedly prepares for un-Arm'd fight with rivals: $40bn takeover may be abandoned

    Softbank, meanwhile, remains 'hopeful' it can offload Brit chip designer

    Nvidia is quietly preparing to give up on the purchase of Arm, according to Bloomberg, after repeatedly butting heads with competition regulators amid a wave of opposition from the tech industry.

    A report by the newswire states Nvidia privately told its partners it does not expect the Arm transaction to close. The report also claims Arm's current owner SoftBank is pressing ahead with an IPO of Arm.

    The $40bn bid Nvidia lodged for Arm in September 2020 has proved controversial: Arm licences its chip designs to multiple clients and some felt that buying the company will give Nvidia the power to stifle competition.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022