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 maven81 on 1/19/2011 12:56:53 PM , Rating: 4
better yet, allowing people to blast away as they please invites disaster."

You do realize that the impact basins on the moon were created by asteroid impacts that at times blasted out 1,500,000 sq miles of area right? (Oceanus Procellarum). The kinetic energy involved is bigger then anything we can muster by whole magnitudes.

"Furthermore, there is not one single thing that would make mining operations ECONOMICAL."

This is based on a massive number of assumptions. Assumptions that the cost of operations will never drop, (along with the risk), that the value of whatever you mine doesn't increase (how do you know?), the list of your assumptions is vast!

"NASA has been responsible for many innovations, but they have done what the private sector could have done in less time, and with less money; so lets get real here."

What the hell are you talking about? First of all who do you think builds the hardware for NASA? Could they be... I don't know, private contractors? Boeing ring a bell? Or how about Lockheed? I suppose NASA uses NASA chips too right? Or could they be radiation hardened Intel chips? (hint, they are).
Not only that, but you obviously slept through the recent space X launch, which was significantly cheaper then what NASA could do. Now of course, Space X is building off of the work that's been done by others, including NASA, but we're talking about today, not the 60s.

"There are more important issues going on than the distractions of space exploration."

How is it a distraction?! In the US the budget of NASA is what, 1/2 of 1%? In other countries it's even less then that!

RE: First come, first serve
By Quadrillity on 1/19/2011 1:35:52 PM , Rating: 1
You do realize that the impact basins on the moon were created by asteroid impacts that at times blasted out 1,500,000 sq miles of area right?

And you do realize that those are SURFACE impacts? Totally different world with subterranean demos.

18 Billion dollars is not quite the "drop in the bucket" that you seem to think it is. The problem here is that the government has overstepped their powers as endowed by our founding documents. Tax money collected so a few men can play on the moon? I bed the founders of this nation would throw up at that thought. That kind of venture belongs in private industry with government oversight. And the ONLY oversight needs to be that no-one is putting anyone in danger.

RE: First come, first serve
By maven81 on 1/19/2011 6:05:44 PM , Rating: 4
"And you do realize that those are SURFACE impacts? Totally different world with subterranean demos."

Do you have any idea how deep some of those "surface" impacts are? For many of them, the depth is 20% of their diameter. Do the math! And you still don't seem to appreciate the amount of energy involved, which created massive faults and brought material from deep within up to the top. So guess what, that means you don't even have to dig very far.

"18 Billion dollars is not quite the "drop in the bucket" that you seem to think it is."

That's the budget for EVERYTHING that NASA does. Which guess what is not 100% manned spaceflight. It also includes R&D, and basic research, even Aeronautics, remember what the other A stands for? But here's the best part... NASA produces a solid return on the money put into it. Can you say that for say the NSA?! And besides, why in the world would you complain about 18+ billion spent on space when Trillions have been spent on fighting wars with questionable benefit. Why aren't you up in arms about that?

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
Laptop or Tablet - Which Do You Prefer?
September 20, 2016, 6:32 AM
Update: Samsung Exchange Program Now in Progress
September 20, 2016, 5:30 AM
Smartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

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