Print 108 comment(s) - last by Skywalker123.. on Jan 26 at 3:51 AM

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. 

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: First come, first serve
By DougF on 1/18/2011 4:09:37 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, the Moon is a very undesirable place to launch a military attack. It's 240k miles best speed, it will take some weapon x hours/days to arrive, threading its way through a sea of space junk and satellites, through an atmosphere, and finally into a target. You'll either have to stealth the weapon or protect it somehow from observation/interdiction. And the faster your weapon the more energy it has to absorb on entry into the atmosphere. Then, you have to launch x hours/days ahead of where your target is going to be. For fixed targets, it might work, but for mobile targets you'd better have awesome intel as to where someone/something will be in exactly x hours/days from launch.

Naw, the best place for military weapons is in low orbit, but then it's kind of obvious and defeats the whole purpose (unless the purpose is to have a Sword of Damocles type thing going on).

RE: First come, first serve
By tech4tac on 1/19/2011 2:33:07 AM , Rating: 2
In terms of today's weaponry and near-future technology, I definitely agree with you. However, in the future when interplanetary space travel becomes more common, I speculate it will be. Much in the same way Hawaii is of importance to USA security and Naval deployment, so too will the Moon be to Earth's.

RE: First come, first serve
By Jaazu on 1/19/2011 3:20:59 AM , Rating: 2
Could always build an ultra high power beam weapon... :-P

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki