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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 delphinus100 on 1/18/2011 7:47:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I would rather we just leave it alone and look at it though telescopes so we don't destroy it too.


Let's see...dead. Vacuum. Naked to solar ultraviolet, solar flares, cosmic rays, meteoroids of any size (Earth's atmosphere destroys the small stuff), and all its surface clearly and visibly already having the crap beaten out of it by nature throughout its existence, surface always cycling between extremely hot and extremely cold...

Um, what exactly would a 'destroyed' Moon look like?

quote:
Do you think China or any other country capable of getting there would think twice about strip mining the entire moon?


The irony here, is that played-out strip mines on Earth have often been described as 'looking like the surface of the Moon...'

I would indeed rather use the surface of the Moon, once it becomes practical, rather than further damage the only world we currently know has life.

quote:
Think about what kind of mess we would have if mining lead the moon to break in half ...


You seriously misunderstand how massive it is...oh, and did I mention that Nature has already battered it with billions of years of meteors and asteroids? Are you suggesting we could somehow surpass that which created craters like Copernicus or Tycho?

(If those names are unfamiliar to you, check out some good Lunar imagery or maps...those ain't pimples.)


RE: First come, first serve
By ARoyalF on 1/18/2011 8:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Um, what exactly would a 'destroyed' Moon look like?


It would have a Starbucks on it for one. And two it would have a bunch of people that hang out or rent there that frown on other people who are openly visiting. Lastly, the aforementioned bunch a sacks of crap would speak like surfers and wear colorful knitted head gear not native to their ethnicity ......That's how the moon is gonna get ruined :P


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