Resources on earth are finite. Because of this, NASA is interested in getting the services of private companies to mine the moon. These materials will be returned to earth for use, which will be new and exotic materials.
This initiative has gained much importance after President Donald Trump has underscored American leadership in this enterprise. It signals NASA's involvement in enterprises that are based in space, reported Meaww. Just this year, the U.S. Space Force has been signed into law as the space mining got the go signal.
According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, these relevant pronouncements that will make an impact on the stature of the U.S. in space. The executive order on the mining and recovery of resources from the moon will be controlled by applicable laws. The point is to regular all activities of public and private companies involved in recovering these resources, to avoid conflict of interests.
All the requirements were outlined on how companies would transact business with the space agency. Mostly, the agreement will govern all amounts of dirt or rock that will be mined directly from the moon. That entails showing the collection site image and location, the material, and all data where the material was located. Most important is the ownership transferred to NASA of regoliths or Rocks.
Sources indicate that NASA will be paying the mining company from $15,000 to $25,000 for 50 to 500 grams for all materials collected. Bridenstine stressed that all materials will be NASA's property per the signed agreement.
In a statement, Bridenstine indicated that by the 2024 Artemis Mission, this initiative is all set up. This mission is intent on sending the first female spaceman with another male astronaut. Data gathered from the shorter voyage to the moon will be applied to the manned Mars mission, cited NASA.
NASA's logic in wanting to do Moon mining
One of the objectives of commercial space mining for NASA is the moon has plentiful resources of rare metals on the moon's top layer and crust. Examples of these are aluminium, copper, iron, and more rare earth elements with potential applications. The lunar material will be a boon for electronics and gadgets of all sorts, from smartphones to medical devices. In China, they produce 90% but supplies are finite, not infinite, noted CNBC.
Another is the moon has enough mass and in 220 million years will it be depleted. Looking for possible pockets of ice that will be an important resource for moon missions too. Bountiful water sources controlled by the U.S. will enable fuel production as well.
An executive order was signed by Trump in April 2020 that initializes the exploitation of the Moon's water and resources by NASA. This new move is not against principles set in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. One section prevents any country from claiming sole control over outer space, which includes the moon and celestial objects. All mining must be beneficial for humanity and all nations, not solely one.
According to Scott Pace, Deputy Assistant and Executive Secretary to the National Space Council, this is unprecedented as America begins to set up the return to the moon and Mars. Overall, it acts as a U.S. policy to define the usage of resources in outer space.
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