Trump Finally Sees Value in the Moon: Lunar Mining

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After Bashing Everything About Future Missions to the Moon, The President Changes His Tune Now that Lunar Mining is on the Table.

Clearly, less than a year ago, the President believed there was little if any value in going to the moon. Now, he’s ordering we start getting ready to mine it. Apparently, then, NASA and the corporations have finally convinced him that there’s value in lunar mining. 

By Executive Order

Okay, an executive order carries power. But so does legislation. And to be fair, Congress passed legislation in 2015 to allow for the private use of the moon and asteroids. This view does not sit well with the rest of the world, though. Russia, for instance, and ironically, disagrees with the move and said so. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that “any kind of attempt to privatize space in one form or another – and I find it difficult to say now whether this can be seen as an attempt to privatize space – would be unacceptable.” However, the Trump administration says this executive order complies with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. As such, they feel justified. And indeed, the U.S. policy for decades validates such policies. 

In 1979, however, an international Moon Treaty demands that using resources in space for non-scientific purposes requires an international regulatory body. That would put a damper on things if the U.S. ever signed the treaty. They didn’t. And neither did most of the other spacefaring nations in the world. 

What Kind of Lunar Mining?

The biggest lunar mining target is, of course, water. The fairly recent discovery of water ice on the moon’s polar caps represents one of the largest reasons for the reprisal of lunar interest. With a lunar base established, NASA and other organizations plan to turn the ice water into hydrogen and oxygen – two major components in rocket fuel. But that’s science. What about commercial mining?

With both congressional legislation and an executive order to support the idea of lunar mining, corporations like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Orbit essentially have free reign now. Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin has already spoken on many occasions about his long-term vision to move all heavy manufacturing off-planet to the moon and Mars. Yesterday’s executive order paves the way for that vision to become a reality. 

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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