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Space & Astronomy

Robert Bigelow sets sights on lunar mining

By T.K. Randall
November 14, 2013 · Comment icon 33 comments



An artist's impression of a moon base. Image Credit: NASA/Dennis M. Davidson
The Bigelow Aerospace Inc. chief is calling for the rights to conduct mining operations on the moon.
Private space companies may soon be paving the way towards a whole new industry of space-based mining operations, that is according to Robert Bigelow who has called on the US government to provide lunar mining rights to companies that help to develop new technologies for NASA.

"The time has come to get serious about lunar property rights," he said. "Ultimately, permanent lunar bases will have to be anchored to permanent commercial facilities. Without property rights there will be no justification for investment and the risk to life."
The concept of mining in space has been gaining momentum in recent years which several companies announcing future plans to tap in to asteroids as a source of valuable materials.

With NASA planning to bring a small asteroid in to near-Earth orbit within the next decade, it may not be too long before the idea of mining in space becomes a reality.

Source: National Geographic | Comments (33)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #24 Posted by Frank Merton 9 years ago
Answering a question with a question is not helpful Frank. . That was not a "question," but a bit of rhetoric to point out that the fact that there is nothing preventing people from making claims either.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Chooky88 9 years ago
Ok, thanks. "Space, the final frontier" , with all its inherent frontier laws and treaties yet to be written.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Sky Scanner 9 years ago
Well yes I am pointing out the absolute obvious here, if any one country wanted to claim the rights, there is no one ON the moon to object, so any objecting to be done, will be done here on Earth. There are no people on the moon to try and wipe out to take their land from them, and we all know that is what man has done over the centuries, so if there are objections, which no doubt there will be if there is money to be made from it...and their is, big big money, then I personally have no faith in man not starting their wars for rights claim right here on Earth...men have started wars here over ... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by skookum 9 years ago
I hope he succeeds. If every time somebody did something new they gave up at the first hurdle as it being to difficult we would all be still living in caves. Even if it ends up to be uneconomical with current technology I am sure we will still learn lots from the research into it and hopefully test flights. It amazes me that people think we are going to 'ruin' the moon. It is a dead body, it has no lifeforms or ecological system so providing we don't blow it up or alter it's gravitational pull or orbit. We should make the most of the resources it has to offer.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
I hope he succeeds. If every time somebody did something new they gave up at the first hurdle as it being to difficult we would all be still living in caves. Even if it ends up to be uneconomical with current technology I am sure we will still learn lots from the research into it and hopefully test flights. It amazes me that people think we are going to 'ruin' the moon. It is a dead body, it has no lifeforms or ecological system so providing we don't blow it up or alter it's gravitational pull or orbit. We should make the most of the resources it has to offer. Concur with all you said with one... [More]
Comment icon #29 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
Mining and/or using it as a launchpad for long range space missions would have no effect on its important influence on our ecosystem. It is inevitable that the moon be occupied by mankind and there does need t be some kind of governing body overseeing that growth. The UN, while semingly a logical choice, is so irredeemably corrupt that putting it in charge would cripple any efforts tpo exploit the moon's assets. It would have to be a consortium of spacefaring nations. The first country to put a base on the moon will control who goes into space and who doesn't.
Comment icon #30 Posted by Sky Scanner 9 years ago
The first country to put a base on the moon will control who goes into space and who doesn't. How did you come to that conclusion?
Comment icon #31 Posted by danielost 9 years ago
They will be holding the high ground. They wouldn't even need a warhead, just big rocks. Besides once there they would onky need to start hiring around the globe, as in startrek and star fleet.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Sky Scanner 9 years ago
They will be holding the high ground. They wouldn't even need a warhead, just big rocks. Besides once there they would onky need to start hiring around the globe, as in startrek and star fleet. None of that means that anyone will be controlling who goes into Space. Sounds like paranoia to me..
Comment icon #33 Posted by The New Richard Nixon 9 years ago
None of that means that anyone will be controlling who goes into Space. Sounds like paranoia to me.. I bet the same thing happend when the Soviets sent sputnik. I could see this happen,we have a right to do anything we want and this would encourage space flights to the Moon, so space tourism would again be boosted. I know i am thinking ahead but it could happen


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