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Nuclear Fusion: The Last “Microfrontier” Essay

1477 words - 6 pages

Imagine a world with almost limitless fuel, clean fuel. Envision a society that can harness the same process that powers the sun. Skeptics may say that this is impossible. In fact, an alternate source of energy exists, and so does the process to create it. Nuclear fusion, a process in which the Helium 3 isotope is utilized is the rapture in which the U.S.A., and the world, could produce a great amount of energy as an alternative to petroleum.
Whether nuclear fusion produces a substantial amount of energy for the U.S. may not matter. All good things come with speculation. Some critics, like Michael Moyer, suppose that nuclear fusion would create too much radiation, or harmful by-products that may cause cancer or other mutations. (Moyer, 55) Frank Close states that the phrase nuclear fusion screams “expensive,” and even if it may benefit the economy in the future, the U.S. does not need another pipedream that may cost the country a pretty penny during this economic crisis. (Williams, Mark) Gerald Kulcinski says people think about the dangers of this program, rather than the payback. (Williams) One speculation that concerns people is the idea of the U.S. being the harbinger of a superpower that could possibly have serious repercussions. Brenda Elliott states that the main problem that thwarts nuclear fusion is the federal halt on space expeditions. (Elliott)
Julie Wakefield states that if we are to achieve nuclear fusion, we must first travel to the moon, where the valuable isotope, Helium 3 is located. (Wakefield) Some may speculate how we will find a way to get to the moon, with a moratorium on space travel. John Lasker proposes that since space travel is supposed to be commercialized by 2020, that scientists should be able to create a sufficient way to transport the isotope by shuttle. (Lasker) In fact, according to Dan Vergano, the U.S. should be able to launch its first flight into space sometime this year with the help of Virgin Galactic Corporation. (Vergano)
Wakefield states that in order to achieve nuclear fusion, scientists must mine the moon’s crust for Helium 3. (Wakefield) Harrison Schmitt indicates that in order to sift Helium 3 out of the soil, scientists say that the soil must be heated to approximately six hundred degrees Celsius. (Schmitt) Wakefield claims that after they have heated the soil, the isotope is turned into its gas state, and captured. It is then transported back to Earth. (Wakefield) Kulcinski states that the initial phase of realizing a new energy source has come to fruition. (Williams) Schmitt proposes that astronauts must harvest this commodity from the moon because the Earth’s atmosphere refracts Helium 3 towards the lunar surface. (Schmitt) Gregory Bennett says that when safely back on Earth, the process of transforming Helium 3 into the newest energy source can begin. (Bennett)
Creating this new energy source is a monumental scientific task in itself, but the court of public opinion...

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