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Water found on the moon may spur more space exploration, lunar settlement and lunar mining  (Source: jyi.org)
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 SPACE.com, 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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RE: First come, first serve
By tastyratz on 1/18/2011 4:17:48 PM , Rating: 0
good point.
Strip mining the moon could have unintentional consequences from tidal influences to gravitational changes or
when the "idiots are on the road". We simply don't know and I don't want to find out after with a whoops.

Any substantial mining removal from the moon would result in all too many environmental changes here, all bad.


RE: First come, first serve
By GaryJohnson on 1/18/2011 4:39:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Any substantial mining removal from the moon

How much is substantial? The moon is large. To alter its mass by 1% would probably take us 10 billion years.


RE: First come, first serve
By deputc26 on 1/18/2011 4:57:57 PM , Rating: 5
This is utter lunacy, to appreciably alter the gravitational relationship between earth and moon you would have to have more than ten times as much mining on the moon as there currently is on the earth, a lot of useful mining can be done millennia before we get anywhere near that. If you doubt me here are the numbers.

Mass of Earth 5.97*10^24
Mass of Moon 7.36*10^22
Mass of Terrestrial Mining products ~2*10^12

So we haven't even got to one billionth the mass of the moon on our own much larger much more accessible planet.


RE: First come, first serve
By mkrech on 1/18/2011 5:05:33 PM , Rating: 5
Wow!

Scale

For example:
The moon is 73,600,000,000,000,000,000 tonnes
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/moo...
The total of everything ever launched into space is 5,500 tonnes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_debris
Mining 10 tonnes for each person on earth is 4,225,000,000 tonnes
http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2006/DanielTouger.s...

To mine 10 tonnes for every person on earth would require approximately 128,000 times as much effort as all the mass launched into space in human history. Even then, that would only change the gravitational effect of the moon by 0.0000000000002%.

Regarding effects on tide, that's on the order of a whale fart.


RE: First come, first serve
By borismkv on 1/18/2011 5:10:16 PM , Rating: 4
Math is your friend, hippies!


RE: First come, first serve
By mkrech on 1/18/2011 5:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
Nice troll BTW. ;)


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