Author Topic: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources  (Read 2322 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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https://www.geekwire.com/2023/blue-origin-gary-lai-interlune-pathfinder-conner/

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Blue Origin’s chief architect lifts the veil on stealthy moon startup at Pathfinder Awards

BY ALAN BOYLE on October 29, 2023 at 10:52 pm

Gary Lai’s resume features his status as chief architect and pioneer spaceflier at Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture — but when he received a Pathfinder Award this weekend at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, the veteran engineer highlighted a lesser-known job, as co-founder and chief technology officer of a moon-centric startup that’s still in stealth mode.

“We aim to be the first company that harvests natural resources from the moon to use here on Earth,” Lai told an audience […]

The Tacoma, Wash.-based startup, called Interlune […]

Other founders are Rob Meyerson (former Blue Origin president) and Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt.

Company has apparently been going 3 years but us still in stealth mode.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #1 on: 11/07/2023 03:35 am »
You already know what I am going to write:

If they find anything valuable on the Moon, China will be there quickly to extract the discovered materials. The OSTA does provide some protection for operations on the Moon, but having claimjumpers is going to be an investor deterrent, particularly if the China deliver mining hardware first.

The solution is a mining claims registry, but that is fodder for another topic.

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #2 on: 11/07/2023 05:57 am »
Other founders are Rob Meyerson (former Blue Origin president) and Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt.
Harrison Schmitt is 88 years old.  I like the fact that he is a co-founder of a startup at that age.

Offline matt19215

Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #3 on: 02/07/2024 08:22 pm »
https://techcrunch.com/2024/02/07/ex-blue-origin-leaders-secretive-lunar-startup-interlune-has-moonshot-mining-plans/

Bunch of new info here. Plans lunar demos in 2026 and 2028 and operations in the early 2030s.


Offline Norm38

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Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #4 on: 02/07/2024 09:03 pm »
https://techcrunch.com/2024/02/07/ex-blue-origin-leaders-secretive-lunar-startup-interlune-has-moonshot-mining-plans/

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Interlune predicts an “exponential” rise demand for He-3 in the coming years, driven by areas like quantum computing, medical imaging, in-space propellant and fusion, to the extent that it projects an annual demand of 4,000 kilograms by 2040 (versus just 5 kilograms now).

Looks like I have some reading to do.  D-He3 fusion is sought after because theoretically there are no free neutrons.  But chemically isn't He3 the same as He4?  What is otherwise unique about it?
And wouldn't it be an expensive waste as a propellant when argon is so cheap and plentiful?  Isn't SpaceX planning to switch Starlink thrusters over to Argon?

Offline Tywin

Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #5 on: 02/07/2024 09:59 pm »
Maybe Jeff Bezos, is follow this company, for the future of the Cislunar economy...
The knowledge is power...Everything is connected...
The Turtle continues at a steady pace ...

Offline Lampyridae

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Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #6 on: 02/08/2024 11:55 am »
https://techcrunch.com/2024/02/07/ex-blue-origin-leaders-secretive-lunar-startup-interlune-has-moonshot-mining-plans/

Quote
Interlune predicts an “exponential” rise demand for He-3 in the coming years, driven by areas like quantum computing, medical imaging, in-space propellant and fusion, to the extent that it projects an annual demand of 4,000 kilograms by 2040 (versus just 5 kilograms now).

Looks like I have some reading to do.  D-He3 fusion is sought after because theoretically there are no free neutrons.  But chemically isn't He3 the same as He4?  What is otherwise unique about it?
And wouldn't it be an expensive waste as a propellant when argon is so cheap and plentiful?  Isn't SpaceX planning to switch Starlink thrusters over to Argon?

D-He3 means less neutron shielding for the fusion reactor's superconducting magnets, drastically reducing their mass (and in theory, cost). Neutrons are also worthless for thrust in a fusion engine. Balanced against this is a much higher ignition temperature... I've read somewhere that mining lunar regolith for He3 equates to the same amount of energy per kg as coal.

He3 has an excellent neutron capture cross-section, and it has some funky properties at cryogenic temperatures. One of its properties is as a inhalation gas for MRI of the lungs.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #7 on: 03/13/2024 01:25 pm »
https://arstechnica.com/space/2024/03/mining-helium-3-on-the-moon-has-been-talked-about-forever-now-a-company-will-try/

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Mining helium-3 on the Moon has been talked about forever—now a company will try
"There are so many investments that we could be making, but there are also Moonshots."

by Eric Berger - Mar 13, 2024 2:02pm GMT
17

Two of Blue Origin's earliest employees, former President Rob Meyerson and Chief Architect Gary Lai, have started a company that seeks to extract helium-3 from the lunar surface, return it to Earth, and sell it for applications here.

The company has been operating in stealth since its founding in 2022, but it emerged on Wednesday by announcing it has raised $15 million, adding to previous rounds of angel investments.

Caption:

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That's no spice harvester. It's an extractor pulling helium-3 from the lunar surface.
Interlune

Offline Greg Hullender

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Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #8 on: 03/13/2024 03:43 pm »
I have a physicist friend who's one of the senior people working on a well-funded nuclear fusion project. We had a long chat about different fusion technologies just last month when I was in his area.

His view is that all He3 projects are frauds. His argument is that anyone who actually knows anything about fusion engineering knows that it's not feasible with any existing technology, and that even if there were some unexpected laboratory breakthrough, it'd still be decades before it could be commercialized. Investors fall for these scams because it's such a beautiful idea. It would solve so many problems if it could be made to work, and so people really want to believe it will.

I can't speak to other applications for He3, but I wouldn't put much stock in fusion panning out. Not before 2050, at least. Maybe 2100.


Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #9 on: 03/13/2024 06:28 pm »
I have a physicist friend who's one of the senior people working on a well-funded nuclear fusion project. We had a long chat about different fusion technologies just last month when I was in his area.

His view is that all He3 projects are frauds. His argument is that anyone who actually knows anything about fusion engineering knows that it's not feasible with any existing technology, and that even if there were some unexpected laboratory breakthrough, it'd still be decades before it could be commercialized. Investors fall for these scams because it's such a beautiful idea. It would solve so many problems if it could be made to work, and so people really want to believe it will.

Well your friend is wrong...

I suspect that he is either working on a Tokamak or maybe at NIF. More likely a Tokamak. It is true that it is nearly impossible to do D-He3 economically with a Tokamak, probably also with laser fusion.
It is also very difficult to ignite. But with the right concept, you can get away without ignition and not all fusion concepts are based on Tokamaks (or NIF).
Plus, even without ignition, the 14.7 MeV protons will transfer a good amount of their energy to the fuel via elastic scattering.

That said, I am skeptical of lunar mining for He3. If you can burn D-He3 at sufficient efficiency, then you can burn D-D and that allows you to make He3 right here on Earth. Though D-D is hard to get net electricity from.
But then you also get Tritium from that which costs a lot more than He3 for extra $$$$ income.
« Last Edit: 03/13/2024 09:54 pm by Elmar Moelzer »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Interlune moon start-up to harvest moon resources
« Reply #10 on: 03/15/2024 07:16 am »
Some IEEE articles on commercial fusion reactors that are currently being built.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/aneutronic-fusion
https://spectrum.ieee.org/fusion-2662267312
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

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