Among the solar wind-implanted volatiles present in the lunar regolith, 3He is possibly the most valuable resource because of its potential as a fusion fuel. The abundance of 3He in the lunar regolith at a given location depends on surface maturity, the amount of solar wind fluence, and titanium content, because ilmenite (FeTiO3) retains helium much better than other major lunar minerals. Surface maturity and TiO2 maps from Clementine multispectral data sets are combined here with a solar wind fluence model to produce a 3He abundance map of the Moon. Comparison of the predicted 3He values to landing site observations shows good correlation. The highest 3He abundances occur in the farside maria (due to greater solar wind fluence received) and in higher TiO2 nearside mare regions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)