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Water found on the moon may spur more space exploration, lunar settlement and lunar mining  (Source:
Space entrepreneurs look to extract resources from the moon, but others are arguing that international laws need to be made first

Lunar geologists and space entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly intrigued by the concept of lunar mining now that researchers have discovered an abundance of water on the moon. But others are suggesting that many obstacles need to be overcome before such a project can be executed. 

The discovery of lunar water has raised questions as to whether other resources such as helium 2 and rare Earth elements could be found on the moon as well. Now, certain countries are looking to race to the moon.

Paul Spudis, Ph.D., a lunar geologist and Senior Staff Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, has expressed interest in lunar mining and has even devised a plan for returning to the moon despite the fact that the Obama administration has no plans to return to the moon at all due to its cancellation of the Constellation program. Spudis' plan involves "robotic resource extraction and the deployment of space-based fuel depots" using water from the moon before any humans return to its surface.

On the other hand, Mike Wall, editor of, believes lunar mining should not be attempted before ironing out a few technical and legal issues. For instance, an international agreement consisting of property rights, a salvage law and a mining law would be needed in order to decide who owns the resources once they are extracted. The Outer Space Treaty does not allow nation states to claim territories on the moon, but it does not mention anything regarding resource mining, and laws need to be set before any mining on the moon begins. 

To set these laws, several proposals have been submitted with viable ideas to set lunar mining in motion. One proposal, which was published in the SMU Journal of Air Law and Commerce, recommended that "space faring countries" should claim and defend a large portion of land around an established lunar settlement and sell the land to investors on Earth, which could fund the commercial venture. 

A second proposal suggested an international agreement to sell lunar land to investors in an effort to fund space exploration programs.  

China, Russia and India have expressed interest in resource development on the moon. 

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Time to create the ISA
By Belard on 1/18/2011 2:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
Time to create the International Space Association.

Otherwise we'll have wars over the resources on the moon.

RE: Time to create the ISA
By ebakke on 1/18/2011 2:47:32 PM , Rating: 5
International bodies prevent wars?

RE: Time to create the ISA
By JediJeb on 1/18/2011 2:52:43 PM , Rating: 5
Naw, they just clean up the mess afterwards in a very very economically inefficient way.

RE: Time to create the ISA
By borismkv on 1/18/2011 5:39:39 PM , Rating: 5
Pff...They don't even do that. They just stand there and waggle their fingers at people going, "Luucy! I tol' you not to kill dose people!!!" "But Rickyyyy! WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

RE: Time to create the ISA
By Belard on 1/18/2011 9:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
No... not really. :)

The combined resources of companies & govt could reduce costs.

There is an Anime called "moonlight mile" in which a minable material is found on the moon that could take care of all of earth's energy needs for 1000 years or something.

It spans several years from discovery to the beginning of sending construction experts into space to build the structures to support such a system.

If there is MONEY to be made on the Moon, people will go there. The key technology needed is a motor/propulsion system that is low-cost and safe. So when we can do something like build a factory and base on the moon... we'll see changes. Also it needs to cost thousands to transport a person to the moon, not millions.

RE: Time to create the ISA
By Strunf on 1/19/2011 8:05:18 AM , Rating: 2
Sure... wars start when people stop sharing the same table.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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