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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 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?


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