The upcoming race for lunar exploitation

Busy years await the terrestrial satellite: astronauts will return and resources such as metals, water and soil will become increasingly crucial. Here’s how they will be exploited

The Moon has returned to the center of attention, thanks to the fiftieth anniversary of the landing that took place last July 20, but also because of NASA’s announcements about the highly anticipated return in 2024. The interest for the terrestrial satellite, by space agencies and companies in the sector, is high, even if you look at the possibility of performing different activities for profit, such as mining on the surface. In this video Angel Abbud-Madrid, director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines, illustrates the potential scenarios to which lunar exploitation activities will take place.

Abbud-Madrid explains that the focus on lunar resources is certainly not new, but unlike the past, today we look at slightly more ambitious prospects: astronauts returning to the satellite will not be there for a few hours, but weeks and even months , so it will be increasingly important to value the best the context offers: oxygen, metals, and the same soil with which to build habitats or print objects in 3D. Local resources will be useful for the same space activities: as the expert in this video points out, among the major costs for the agencies is the transport of materials, including those for propulsion of the vehicles (it is necessary to return to Earth, no?) .

No commuting work to the satellite, though: it is logical to think that most of the operations related to material and resource extraction will be carried out by remotely controlled automata.

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