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Jordan explores harvesting the Moon

Lamar University’s Jim Jordan, chair of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, will explore the idea of harvesting a clean and efficient form of energy from the Moon that has stimulated science fiction and fact in recent decades.

Jordan will present his lecture Wednesday, March 25, at 3:30 p.m. in Room 105 of the Geology Building on the Lamar University campus.

Helium-3, a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron, is proposed as a second-generation fuel for nuclear fusion in hypothetical fusion power plants, but such plants are still very early in their development. Scientists from many nations are interested in the potential of Helium-3. Through his experience with lunar samples, Jordan provided correlations on important parameters of the helium content in the regolith that allow mapping the lunar surface for the rare isotope.

Unlike Earth, which is protected by its magnetic field, the Moon has been bombarded with Helium-3 by the solar wind for billions of years leaving large quantities embedded in the upper layer of regolith. It is thought that this isotope could provide safer nuclear energy in a fusion reactor, since it is not radioactive and would not produce dangerous waste products.

Jordan, who holds a Ph.D. in geology from Rice University, is director of the Earth and Space Resources Laboratory. In addition to his many duties at Lamar, he is an associate scientist for Orbital Technologies Corp., Madison, Wisc. He was previously a National Research Council Associate and Summer Faculty Fellow, at the Johnson Space Center.

He is a member of the Texas Space Grant Consortium, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee.

For more information about Earth and Space Sciences at LU visit or call (409) 880-8236.