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Helium-3 in the heart of the Earth: Earth is losing the noble gas from which it was formed

Helium-3 in the heart of the Earth: Earth is losing the noble gas from which it was formed

In his study, geophysicist Peter Olson of the University of New Mexico, USA, suspected that there are still huge amounts of it in the Earth’s core and that it is gradually migrating from there to the surface. In the researcher’s study, the pulp was identified as the main source of the isotope. Scientists around the world hope for a “clean” helium-3 nuclear fusion, which could solve future energy concerns.

According to Olson, about 2,000 grams come out of the earth’s interior. As Olson says, that’s just as much, um To fill a desk the size of a balloon. This is also an indication of the formation of the Earth. Because in the early stages, helium-3 was one of the main components. As the planet formed, helium 3 accumulated. The isotope belongs to the gas and dust particles formed shortly after the Big Bang.

There is an assumption in science that 4 billion years ago, the early Earth collided with a celestial body the size of Mars, and the Moon formed as a result.


From this huge cloud of the solar nebula the Earth was also formed. When the crust froze, a huge amount of helium-3 was trapped inside the planet. With internal activity, this noble gas rises to the surface. Once there, it evaporates. A higher concentration of gas is found near volcanoes, where magma rises to the surface.

A supposed collision with another celestial body the size of Mars has released a huge amount of helium-3 into space. It is believed that the moon formed from this collision. However, in the Earth’s interior, helium-3 was still preserved. This is what the researchers suspect.

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The sun throws particles into space.

The sun is constantly ejecting helium atoms into the vastness of space with its solar wind.

Photographer: Marcus Jan, iStockphoto

Helium-3 is very common in space. Stars throw their peers into vast swaths of space. This is how it eventually ends up on the Moon, penetrating the surface. This is only possible because the Moon has no atmosphere or magnetic field. This allows helium atoms to penetrate the regolith. Regolith is a collective term for various types of unassembled or slightly compacted materials, which encapsulate the unpolished bedrock.

Since investigations and model calculations are still based on some unproven assumptions, geophysicist Olson and his team hope to get more clues from other gases that are also among the original particles in space, such as hydrogen. This occurs in similar places and quantities on Earth’s surface as helium-3 and could identify the core as the source.

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