India’s space program wants to go where no nation has gone before – to the south side of the moon.
And once it gets there, it will study the potential for mining a source of waste-free nuclear energy that could be worth trillions of dollars.
The nation’s equivalent of NASA will launch a rover in October to explore virgin territory on the lunar surface and analyze crust samples for signs of water and helium-3. That isotope is limited on Earth yet so abundant on the moon that it theoretically could meet global energy demands for 250 years if harnessed.
“The countries which have the capacity to bring that source from the moon to Earth will dictate the process,’’ said K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation. “I don’t want to be just a part of them, I want to lead them.’’