Interlune, a new space startup founded by former Blue Origin employees Rob Meyerson and Gary Lai, is venturing into the ambitious realm of mining helium-3 on the Moon. Helium-3, a valuable isotope crucial for nuclear fusion, has long been discussed as a potential resource due to its abundance on the lunar surface, courtesy of solar wind interactions. Despite the theoretical interest, few companies have made concrete efforts towards its extraction.

The scarcity of helium-3 on Earth contrasts sharply with its availability on the Moon, where it holds promise for applications ranging from medical imaging to nuclear fuel. Interlune aims to capitalize on this resource by mining helium-3 and supplying it to terrestrial companies.

Meyerson, Interlune’s founder and former Blue Origin president, outlined the company’s roadmap, revealing plans to establish a pilot plant by 2028 and commence operational extraction by 2030, with an eye on meeting Earth’s market demands.

Securing $15 million in funding since its inception in 2022, Interlune is poised for action. The company plans to launch a lunar “demonstrator mission” in 2026 to assess helium-3 reserves and initiate extraction attempts. Collaboration with established space entities such as SpaceX or potential involvement from Blue Origin could bolster Interlune’s efforts, facilitating the logistics of lunar operations.

Interlune Harverster (Image: Interlune)

As Interlune navigates the complexities of lunar mining, its success could pave the way for further utilization of extraterrestrial resources, ushering in a new era of space-based industry and innovation.

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