Mining the moon? Polish startup signs lunar mining contract with US firm

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Solar System Resources Corporation, a Polish start-up from Krakow, has signed a letter of intent with US Nuclear Corp for the supply of a valuable isotope, Helium-3, which will be mined on the Moon by a crewless spacecraft

According to the Krakow startup, this is the first transatlantic agreement of its kind. It is hoped that it will contribute both to the growth of both the energy and space industries as well as the increase of innovation in the Polish economy.

“The company has appealed to the Polish government to speed up work on an agreement with NASA and for Poland to participate in programs such as ARTEMIS and ARTEMIS ACCORDS,” informed the start-up’s CEO and co-founder Adam Jan Zwierzyński.

In the letter of intent, Solar Systems Resource Corporation commits itself to supplying 500 kilograms of helium-3 between 2028 and 2032. The current price of the isotope is $16.6 billion per ton, but the companies are not revealing any financial details of the venture.

The isotope is highly valuable because it can be used in thermonuclear fusion, which means it could be fuel for nuclear reactors that could one day produce clean energy without any radioactive waste or greenhouse gas emissions. According to Polish estimates, 200 tons of helium-3 would be enough to cover global energy needs. But the isotope can also be used for genetic research, quantum computers, manufacture of MRI equipment, and radiation detectors used in airports and border crossings.

According to Bob Goldstein, the CEO of US Nuclear Corp, the profits from extracting the isotope are potentially enormous as it could not only be used in nuclear fusion but could also be used for the manufacture of electronics, vehicles and cell phones. The Polish company in turn points out that the resource is in very scant supply on earth but is present in far greater volume on the Moon.

Both companies are positioning the venture as part of the drive to find clean energy sources to help tackle climate change and drive the post-pandemic recovery. Sources of energy that provide an alternative to renewables which are clean and which diversify sources of supply at a competitive price.

US Nuclear Corp is a spin-off from the Manhattan Project. It is engaged in advanced government and military ventures and involved in developing nuclear fusion for energy production and for the use of rare isotopes in medicine. Solar System Resources Corporation is in turn a startup founded by individuals from the Krakow Mining Academy who specialize in space mining.

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