Duncan Jones' "Moon" - MyMoon

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This week the movie Moon starring Sam Rockwell was released on DVD. Moon is directed by Duncan Jones, the son of singer David Bowie. I have been eagerly anticipating this release since I first heard about the movie this past summer. As I hunkered down to watch it with my snuggie and cup of hot cocoa, I really did not know what to expect. I heard some reveiws of the show awhile back but those did not really give me a good idea of the story.

Truthfully, the more I think about it, I guess I expected it to, in some way, be about space exploration. After all, it's called "Moon" and there is a picture of what appears to be an astronaut on the cover. As it turns out, the Moon is just the backdrop for the story. The astronaut on the cover is the main character of the movie, Sam Bell (Rockwell). Sam is the lone man overseeing a helium-3 mining operation on the lunar surface. He is nearing the end of his three year contract and is eagerly waiting to return home to his wife and daughter. However, not everything is as it seems to Sam, or the audience. While driving out to check on one of the excavators that draws helium-3 out of the lunar regolith, Sam wrecks his rover and is knocked out. He awakens in the infirmary of his lunar base without any memory of how he got back. Then the clone walks in. I'll let you rent the movie and see how it all works out. Oh, by the way, reminiscent of HAL in the Sci-Fi classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, the base computer, Gerty, is voiced by Kevin Spacey. Gerty is the only means of conversation available to Sam. Would I recommend "Moon"? Yes. But I probably won't see it more than once.

What about this helium-3 business? What on Earth is helium-3? (Actually, the question should be, what on the Moon is helium-3?) Helium-3 is a non-radioactive isotope of helium, the gas you can inhale to increase the pitch of your voice (not a safe thing to do) or inflate party balloons. Helium-3 is rare on the Earth, but relatively abundant on the Moon. It was discovered in samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts. Researchers looking for solutions to the world's growing energy demands believe helium-3 could be a solution. Can helium-3 really be mined? Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt (and others) thinks so. He is a proponent of mining the Moon for helium-3 and wrote a piece in Popular Mechanics on the topic. Discovery even has an online helium-3 mining game.

If returning to the Moon to learn more about it, or simply to continue exploration, is not reason enough for you to justify sending humans back, try this on. Helium-3 has a projected worth of $40,000 per ounce. Just sayin'.


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