In 1492 the pits of a tiny berry indigenous to Southeast Asia were literally worth their weight in Silver. Finding the source (along with the source of a ruddy colored inner tree bark: Cinnamon), and cutting out those cut-throat Muslim middle-men, was the principle motivation pushing westward 3 small ships sailing from Spain. Columbus didn't find the source, but what he did find: Chillies, has ever since been saddled with the confusing spin of being called Peppers.

The Daily Mail is a British tabloid that is sometimes given to sensational headlines. So is this one of those times that it should be taken with a grain of salt?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...gy-crisis.html

Could the moon fuel Earth for 10,000 years? China says mining helium from our satellite may help solve the world's energy crisis

Now China is looking to mine the moon for the rare helium isotope that some scientists claim could meet global energy demand far into the future, according to a report in The Times.

Professor Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, recently said, the moon is 'so rich' in helium 3, that this could 'solve humanity's energy demand for around 10,000 years at least.'

Helium 3, scientists argue, could power clean fusion plants. It is nonradioactive and a very little goes a very long way.
Well, the potential may or may not exist, but it might be worth keeping an eye on.

http://fortune.com/2013/12/20/chinas...eads-to-space/

Michael C. Zarnstorff, deputy director of research for Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, says the U.S. and Europe have been trying to make fusion power for years, and now China is making an attempt: “They [China] need a lot more energy due to their increasing population, and they really want to get rid of the pollution problems they have.” If China is able to harness helium-3 and produce fusion power they would be able to fix their massive pollution, which has soured some executives and politicians. If and when China’s pollution problem is rectified, it could potentially become a major energy resource player and offer a clean energy option to countries looking to wean themselves from oil dependency.

There are still significant roadblocks to harnessing fusion power. One of the first issues is transporting the helium-3 material from the moon, which naturally occurs as a gas. This will cost billions of dollars, and even moving the material back down to Earth would require the process of actually turning that helium-3 into fusion power while still on the moon. According to Kulcinski, there isn’t an agreement between federal agencies if the transporting or conversion aspects are achievable. “The Department of Energy doesn’t think NASA can go to the moon and bring back the material, while NASA doesn’t think the Department of Energy has the resources or ability to be able to turn it into fusion power,” he said.

Zarnstorff pointed out that the lack of an agreement between U.S. agencies doesn’t mean the effort for finding a way for fusion power is dead. He pointed to a joint project between the European Union, the U.S., Japan, Korea, India, China, and Russia in southern France called ITER (International Thermonucelar Experimental Reactor) that aims to “produce commercial energy from fusion.” The project has been operating for more than 20 years, and in 2007 an agreement was signed to establish a framework for research and development supporting fusion energy over the course of 10 years. This year, ITER was projected to start the Tokamak Complex construction, and the first manufactured components are expected to arrive in 2014.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3

Extraterrestrial abundance

Materials on the Moon's surface contain helium-3 at concentrations on the order of between 1.4 and 15 ppb in sunlit areas,[43][44] and may contain concentrations as much as 50 ppb in permanently shadowed regions.[3] A number of people, starting with Gerald Kulcinski in 1986,[45] have proposed to explore the moon, mine lunar regolith and use the helium-3 for fusion. Because of the low concentrations of helium-3, any mining equipment would need to process extremely large amounts of regolith (over 150 million tonnes of regolith to obtain one ton of helium 3),[46] and some proposals have suggested that helium-3 extraction be piggybacked onto a larger mining and development operation.[citation needed]

The primary objective of Indian Space Research Organization's first lunar probe called Chandrayaan-I, launched on October 22, 2008, was reported in some sources to be mapping the Moon's surface for helium-3-containing minerals.[47] However, this is debatable; no such objective is mentioned in the project's official list of goals, while at the same time, many of its scientific payloads have noted helium-3-related applications.[48][49]

Cosmochemist and geochemist Ouyang Ziyuan from the Chinese Academy of Sciences who is now in charge of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program has already stated on many occasions that one of the main goals of the program would be the mining of helium-3, from which operation "each year three space shuttle missions could bring enough fuel for all human beings across the world."[50] To "bring enough fuel for all human beings across the world",[32] more than one Space Shuttle load (and the processing of 4 million tonnes of regolith) per week, at least 52 per year, would be necessary.[citation needed][dubious – discuss]

In January 2006, the Russian space company RKK Energiya announced that it considers lunar helium-3 a potential economic resource to be mined by 2020,[51] if funding can be found.[52][53]


Power generation

A second-generation approach to controlled fusion power involves combining helium-3 (32He) and deuterium (21H). This reaction produces a helium-4 ion (42He) (like an alpha particle, but of different origin) and a high-energy proton (positively charged hydrogen ion) (11p). The most important potential advantage of this fusion reaction for power production as well as other applications lies in its compatibility with the use of electrostatic fields to control fuel ions and the fusion protons. Protons, as positively charged particles, can be converted directly into electricity, through use of solid-state conversion materials as well as other techniques. Potential conversion efficiencies of 70% may be possible, as there is no need to convert proton energy to heat in order to drive a turbine-powered electrical generator[citation needed].

There have been many claims about the capabilities of helium-3 power plants. According to proponents, fusion power plants operating on deuterium and helium-3 would offer lower capital and operating costs than their competitors due to less technical complexity, higher conversion efficiency, smaller size, the absence of radioactive fuel, no air or water pollution, and only low-level radioactive waste disposal requirements. Recent estimates suggest that about $6 billion in investment capital will be required to develop and construct the first helium-3 fusion power plant. Financial breakeven at today's wholesale electricity prices (5 US cents per kilowatt-hour) would occur after five 1-gigawatt plants were on line, replacing old conventional plants or meeting new demand.[55]

The reality is not so clear-cut. The most advanced fusion programs in the world are inertial confinement fusion (such as National Ignition Facility) and magnetic confinement fusion (such as ITER and other tokamaks). In the case of the former, there is no solid roadmap to power generation. In the case of the latter, commercial power generation is not expected until around 2050.[56] In both cases, the type of fusion discussed is the simplest: D-T fusion. The reason for this is the very low Coulomb barrier for this reaction; for D+3He, the barrier is much higher, and it is even higher for 3He–3He. The immense cost of reactors like ITER and National Ignition Facility are largely due to their immense size, yet to scale up to higher plasma temperatures would require reactors far larger still. The 14.7 MeV proton and 3.6 MeV alpha particle from D–3He fusion, plus the higher conversion efficiency, means that more electricity is obtained per kilogram than with D-T fusion (17.6 MeV), but not that much more. As a further downside, the rates of reaction for helium-3 fusion reactions are not particularly high, requiring a reactor that is larger still or more reactors to produce the same amount of electricity.
NASA however, is happy at the moment looking at the He3 Lunar effort from the sidelines as it eyes Mars.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/16/tech/i...ry-technology/
"As international partners and the growing U.S. commercial space industry venture beyond low-Earth orbit as well, there may be some opportunities to return humans and robots to the lunar surface. Our roadmap for exploration includes the possibility of assisting partners with that kind of exploration, but our investments in human spaceflight are focused on enabling the path to Mars," a NASA spokesman told CNN.

"We'll soon return humans to the vicinity of the moon ... [a] proving ground we need to test these key capabilities and help us advance on the human path to Mars," he said.
So if Lunar He3 becomes the new spice, where are the Spice Islands?

Places in permanent would have a much higher concentration as the sun beating down for a lunar day (14 Earth Days) cause sun drenched deposits to vaporize back out into space.

The revelations about water ice being found in the Regolith in permanent shadow at the poles (especially South), these areas would be the prime Lunar real estate.

Whereas efficient ReGen Systems would limit the need for vast amounts of additional H2O for human habitation, using electricity to crack water into O2 & H2 would allow you to build a Rocket Fuel plant at those locations.

Spoiler: Lunar Polar Maps:


South Pole