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  •  Uranium has been discovered on the Moon. (0+ / 0-)

    It was detected by the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft.

    "Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

    by Troubadour on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 11:39:28 PM PDT

    •  I would imagine that every element (1+ / 0-)
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      Troubadour

      is to be found on the moon, being a former part of earth and nearly as old as the solar system and the product of ancient dying stars or some other such fusion process. The article doesn't seem to indicate if it's found in significant and easy enough to find and mine quantities to be worth the effort and expense. Does it come in yellowcake form?

      Fox Nauseam Delenda Est

      by kovie on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 02:14:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is surface mapping. (1+ / 0-)
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        kovie

        It was far from obvious what elements would be found near the surface or in what abundances.  My not-quite-amateur guess: Greater density of uranium on the Moon, since Earth's tectonic activity would tend to bring heavier elements down toward the core over time, while the Moon solidified from the inside out.  On the bright side, if uranium is relatively abundant, the Moon is one place where there would be absolutely no rational objection to nuclear fission power - the natural environment is often bombarded with more particle flux than radioactive waste gives off.

        "Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

        by Troubadour on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 02:50:11 AM PDT

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        •  I guess that I was more surprised (1+ / 0-)
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          Troubadour

          that there would be any surpise that uranium would be found on the moon, when it would be much more surprising if none were found. But perhaps the real revelation here isn't that it was found, but that it was found on the surface, which is rare on earth from what I understand. So I'm basically saying what you're saying.

          I guess the real questions are how abundant it is on or near the surface, and in what form it exists, in terms of its potential for use in a moon-based reactor and how much processing and refining it would require to be usable in a reactor. Plus, what would be involved in establishing a useful reactor on the moon, in terms of bringing some parts from earth, and building the rest on the moon? If it was steam-based, where would sufficient quantities of water come from? Are there non-steam-based reactors? And given how much solar energy falls on the moon, would it even make sense to build a reactor, given its complexity and costs (and even dangers) compared to solar arrays?

          Fox Nauseam Delenda Est

          by kovie on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 03:19:02 AM PDT

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          •  Solar + storage is definitely the long-term (0+ / 0-)

            solution, given its relative simplicity, at least until fusion is practical.  And it's clearly the way to go for initial exploration.  But my guess is that the stages between pioneering and full-fledged cities will be fission-powered.

            There are technical challenges - it's not a direct matter of taking nuclear plant equipment from Earth to the Moon.  Particularly, the reactor has to be radiatively cooled - water would likely be far too precious to let boil off into space for cooling.  But there are also advantages to being on the Moon: With no air or liquid water in the outside environment, containment is trivial - just build the reactor a few meters underground.  If containment is breached...so what?  It might interfere with unshielded electronics nearby (something you're unlikely to have on the Moon), but there's no contamination once you re-seal the breach.  

            "Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

            by Troubadour on Tue Jun 30, 2009 at 01:20:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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