Global inventory of Helium-3 in lunar regoliths estimated by a multi-channel microwave radiometer on the Chang-E 1 lunar satellite
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Helium-3 (3He) implanted by solar wind in the lunar regolith is a valuable resource because of its potential as a fusion fuel. On the basis of the Apollo regolith samples, a linear relationship between 3He abundance and solar wind flux, optical maturity and TiO2 content has been presented. China successfully launched its first lunar exploration satellite Chang-E 1 (CE-1) on October 24, 2007. A multi-channeled microwave radiometer was aboard the satellite with the purpose of measuring microwave thermal emission from the lunar surface layer. From the multi-channel brightness temperature (T b) observed by CE-1, the global distribution of the regolith thickness was inverted from the multi-channel T b, and was used to evaluate the total amount of 3He per unit area in the lunar regolith. The global inventory of 3He was estimated as being 6.6×108 kg; 3.7×108 kg for the lunar nearside and 2.9×108 kg for the lunar farside.
keywords3He abundance regolith thickness Chang-E 1
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