Space (and specifically the moon) has always captured the imagination and interest of humanity. As a result, there has been a lot of discussion about space mining. With new technologies and multiple countries pushing for the stars, it will be interesting to see how the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 holds up. Here are some interesting facts about moon mining!
Moon Mining For Water
The moon has been a subject of curiosity and scientific interest for thousands of years. In 2009, NASA sent LCROSS, a spacecraft carrying a 2-ton rocket, to the moon. The spacecraft’s mission was to fire this rocket into the moon, searching for hidden reservoirs of water. The moon has experienced meteor and comet hits for billions of years, and comets contain large amounts of water. As a result, scientists believe that water may exist deep underground.
Mining For Helium 3
China is looking to the moon for Helium 3, which is dumped on the moon’s surface by solar winds. This rare helium isotope could power clean fusion plants back on Earth. On December 1st, 2020, China successfully completed its’ first-ever sample and return mission and is a milestone in exploration on the moon. The last time lunar samples in pristine condition were collected and delivered to Earth was in 1976 by the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission. They returned with 6-ounces of lunar dirt.
Who Will Win The Moon Mining Race?
NASA has made clear its interest in mining the moon. Already purchasing lunar rocks and dirt from a commercial provider, they are pushing forward with their Artemis project to set up bases on and around the moon. The U.S. is once again striving to be the leader in space.
Interest in the moon and Mars is increasing, and with the recent implementation of Space Force for the U.S. – it is clear – that outer space is the future.
Space is the future of mining and opens the discussion to the benefits of our technological advancements to issues that may arise from expanding into space. It will be interesting to see where this decade takes us!
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