Russia plans to produce rare-earth metals on Moon - space agency
13:42 | 05/ 06/ 2006

MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans produce rare-earth metals on the Moon, a deputy head of the Federal Space Agency said Monday.

Following a May announcement from the country's largest rocket corporation that it intended to seek helium-3 on the Moon for nuclear fusion, Yury Nosenko said that the agency was aiming to produce the metals for more mundane purposes.

"Rare-earth metals will be used for semi-conductors in modern electronics and medical equipment," he said.

He said the Moon had good conditions for setting up telescopes and navigation stations, but thorough research was still needed as little was known about the Moon.

"We still know very little about the Moon and its geological composition and that is why we need to research everything to make a correct decision on its practical use," Nosenko said.

Energia Rocket and Space Corporation said last month that it was planning to extract lunar reserves of helium-3 as soon as the re-usable Clipper spacecraft was put into operation.

"The Moon has vast reserves of helium-3 and this is the closest place to Earth where it can be extracted," said Nikolai Sevastyanov, the corporation's head.

He said the Moon's industrial development could solve the problem of the shortage of energy resources on Earth.