With an estimated 1.6 billion tonnes of water ice at its poles and an abundance of rare-earth elements hidden below its surface, the Moon is rich ground for mining
In this month’s issue of Physics World, science writer Richard Corfield explains how private firms and space agencies are dreaming of tapping into these lucrative resources and turning the Moon’s grey, barren landscape into a money-making conveyer belt. A video preview of the February issue of Physics World can be viewed here.
Since NASA disbanded its manned Apollo missions to the Moon over 40 years ago, unmanned spaceflight has made giant strides and has identified a bountiful supply of water ice at the north and south poles of the Moon.
“It is this, more than anything else,” Cornfield writes, “that has kindled interest in mining the Moon, for where there is ice, there is fuel.”
Texas-based Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) plans to mine the vast reserves of water ice and convert it into rocket propellant in the form of hydrogen and oxygen, which would then be sold to space partners in low Earth orbit.
As the company’s chief executive officer, Dale Tietz, explains, the plan is to build a “gas station in space” in which rocket propellant will be sold at prices significantly lower than the cost of sending fuel from Earth.
SEC plans to extract the water ice by sending humans and robots to mine the lunar poles, and then use some of the converted products to power mining hoppers, lunar rovers and life support for its own activities.
Read more: Mining the Moon becomes a serious prospect
The Latest on: Mining the Moon
via Google News
The Latest on: Mining the Moon
- New Space Race Shoots for Moon and Mars on a Budget: QuickTakeon November 27, 2020 at 11:36 pm
Mars remain tantalizing goals for many nations, as are the technological advances that space exploration can drive.
- Wars could arise between companies, countries and agencies for Moon resources - studyon November 25, 2020 at 2:54 pm
BATTLES could break out for resources on the Moon as private companies and space agencies look to colonise our lunar satellite, a new report has claimed.
- Is Space Mining the Eco-Friendly Choice?on November 25, 2020 at 11:01 am
... CEO Dennis Wingo more certain than ever that we are on the cusp of a new era of space mining. He reiterates to Astronomy that “industrial activity on the Moon is how we can make things better here ...
- Space: Growing interest in Moon resources could cause tension, researchers findon November 25, 2020 at 3:01 am
Taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, this image of the moon is part of the collection of the highest resolution, near-global topographic maps of the moon ever created. Overlaid on… view more ...
- Meet the man behind the tale of ‘Bella Bandida’on November 24, 2020 at 6:49 pm
Francisco is now remembered as one of the "pillars of Philippine Komiks Industry," and is dubbed as "King of Komiks" and the "Dean of Philippine Comics." ...
- Fight for Moon’s limited resources could lead to ‘conflict’ between governments and private companies, scientists fearon November 24, 2020 at 8:55 am
Scientists fear that the Moon might be plundered too quickly by private companies hoping to extract its valuable resources, new research has hypothesized. A lack of international policies and ...
- Growing interest in Moon resources could cause tensionon November 23, 2020 at 11:55 am
An international team of scientists has identified a problem with the growing interest in extractable resources on the moon: there aren't enough of them to go around. With no international policies or ...
- Growing interest in Moon resources could cause tension, scientists findon November 23, 2020 at 10:17 am
An international team of scientists led by the Center for Astrophysics / Harvard & Smithsonian, has identified a problem with the growing interest in extractable resources on the moon: there aren't ...
- Need a way out of recession? Look to the starson November 22, 2020 at 7:44 pm
The discoveries made along the way to achieving these sky-high goals have become integral parts of our daily lives — and could even help us out of this recession. The economics of space is now a ...
- This Tiny Rich Nation Is Looking To Become A Hub For Space Miningon November 18, 2020 at 10:00 am
Luxembourg is stepping up efforts to achieve its goal of becoming Europe’s hub for space mining by announcing plans to create a European Space Resources Innovation Centre ...
via Bing News