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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 maven81 on 1/19/2011 1:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
"You act like we have finally found out how to construct a hyper drive or something. This isn't Coruscant bud"

How would you build a hyperdrive if you're not even working on interim tech? That's like someone showing you a transistor in 1947, and you saying "yeah that's nice, but until we can make 45nm chips with these things, it's not that useful" We'd never have chips if we hadn't developed transistors first, get it? Or do you think someone will just hit their head on the toilet seat one day and create a sketch for the hyperdrive?

"So are you saying that your interest in space will help with those aforementioned problems? If you think that space exploration will make everyone join hands and sing "cumbaya" then you have another thing coming lol."

No, if you paid attention you'd see that what I'm saying is we don't need to wait to solve problems here, because we never will. We need to press ahead regardless. And in the process we'll probably come up with something that might actually help, instead of just complaining about it. You haven't listed a single solution yourself, except redirecting money spent on space elsewhere. Which is silly. Like I said above, it's 1/2 of 1% of our budget. What's that going to do?!

"Even IF there was another planet that we could inhabit how can we reach it?"

Who said that we have to reach it? As long as there are humans off of this planet, that's what matters.

"Btw, do you know just how rare the perfection of Earth is? So rare, in fact that there is not a single planet that could sustain us."

That we know of today. One could be discovered tomorrow for all you know, because we have only developed the technology to look for earth size planets in the past what 10 years? We didn't even discover ANY planets until 1995. Now we know of 458 according to wiki.


RE: First come, first serve
By Quadrillity on 1/19/2011 1:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
we don't need to wait to solve problems here, because we never will.

With that kind of attitude, no we won't.

If you don't think that 1% is significant, then you have absolutely no idea what "macro-economics" is. On an international and GDP level, 1% is huge. 18 BILLION dollars could go a long way if used correctly. A lot farther than a stupid idea of strip mining the moon for God's sake.


RE: First come, first serve
By maven81 on 1/19/2011 6:16:11 PM , Rating: 2
"With that kind of attitude, no we won't."

If everyone had your attitude the computer you're typing this on never even would have been built. So you've got no leg to stand on. I could see it now... why spend money on semiconductor research! There are starving children out there!

"18 BILLION dollars could go a long way if used correctly. A lot farther than a stupid idea of strip mining the moon for God's sake."

I don't even know how you got to this idea. Notice that it's not even NASA that's talking about mining, but private companies. This is not a government effort. What's the problem?!


RE: First come, first serve
By jeff834 on 1/20/2011 4:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah! That 18 billion dollars could buy like 4 fighter bombers which can be used to fight terrorism! Maybe we should spend a little of the 663 billion dollars we spend on defense to do something useful too, but we don't. I'm not saying 18 billion isn't a significant amount of money or that we shouldn't have a reasonable defense budget, but you really need to look at things in perspective. At least NASA gets some kind of returns.


RE: First come, first serve
By cjohnson2136 on 1/21/2011 3:08:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now we know of 458 according to wiki.


According to my Astronomy professor who works with the Hubble Telescope its now at about 502. Also coming from this teacher we will find intelligent life within 30 years lol. This guy does work for NASA btw.


RE: First come, first serve
By Just Tom on 1/24/2011 11:43:08 AM , Rating: 2
And how exactly does your professor KNOW we will find intelligent life within the next 30 years?


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