Helium-3 is an isotope of helium that is used in nuclear fusion reactors, and as fuel for "fusion torches", which are the main commercial form of starship thruster. For this reason, it is a key resource in the galactic economy. Helium-3 can often be found in the atmospheres of gas giants, from where it can be easily and cheaply skimmed.
Historical Usage Edit
Archeological evidence suggests the ancient Protheans used helium-3, as there is evidence of helium-3 mining on planets such as Zafe and Sharring in formerly Prothean-inhabited systems. It is also believed that the ancient arthenn civilization mined helium-3 on Gaelon.
Before its facilities were destroyed in the Krogan Rebellions, the planet Vard was the key helium-3 producer for all of krogan space - its destruction by Citadel Spectres early in the wars was a strategic setback that the krogan fleets never fully recovered from. The original facilities had been constructed with salarian aid.
Human Development Edit
Luna became an early source of helium-3 for humans. Mining operations eventually moved onto the gas giants of the solar system, especially Saturn and Uranus. Eldfell-Ashland Energy first demonstrated helium-3 mining on Saturn in 2137. Neptune remained undeveloped in this time before FTL, due to its distance. Uranus remains the key producer of helium-3 for the Systems Alliance, being close to Earth, and because out of all the Sol system's gas giants, its smaller gravity well makes it easier, and therefore cheaper, to mine.
Later, after the discovery of the mass relays, mining began on extrasolar planets in Alliance space such as Zion, which supplies the nearby colony of Eden Prime. Planets like Zion and Borr are developed due to their proximity to colonies. Locality seems to be the most important factor in determining where helium-3 is mined.
Mass Effect Edit
Helium-3 Mining Operations Edit
- Gaelon - possibly once mined for helium-3 by the arthenn.
- Sharring - ruins on Sharring's moons indicate a possible Prothean helium-3 mining operation.
- Vard - krogan helium-3 mining infrastructure destroyed during the Krogan Rebellions.
- Zafe - possible ruins of Prothean helium-3 mining stations.
- Many scientists and science fiction authors have proposed that in future, humanity could mine helium-3 from the solar system, as an alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear fission. See fusion power on Wikipedia.