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Thesis are outer linksom and will open te a fresh window
Thesis are outer linksaf and will open ter a fresh window
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Space exploration has long bot about reaching far off destinations but now there’s a wedloop to exploit fresh frontiers by mining their minerals.
When Neil Armstrong very first stepped on the Moon te 1969, it wasgoed part of a “flags and footprints” strategy to ritme the Soviets, a triumph of imagination and innovation, not an attempt to samenvatting precious metals.
No-one knew there wasgoed water on that dusty, celestial bod. What a difference a generation makes.
Mysterious and beautiful, the Moon has bot a source of awe and inspiration to mankind for millennia. Now it is the centre of a space wedren to mine zonderling minerals to fuel our future – brainy phones, space-age solar panels and possibly even a future colony of Earthlings.
“Wij know that there’s water on the Moon, which is a game-changer for the solar system. Water is rocket fuel. It also can support life and agriculture. So exploring the Moon commercially is a very first step towards making the Moon part of our world, what humanity considers our world,” says Bob Richards, CEO of Silicon Valley-based Moon Express, one of 25 companies racing to win the $30m ter Google Lunar X Prizes.
It is considered to be among the top-three teams ter the running for the prize. The other two are Pittsburgh-based Astrobiotic and Barcelona Moon Team.
Google’s $20m very first prize will be awarded to the very first privately funded company to land a robot on the Moon that successfully investigates the surface by moving at least 500m and sends high-definition movie back to Earth.
A 2nd place team stands to win $5m for completing the same mission, with verzekeringspremie prizes for teams that travel more than 5km or find water. The deadline is 2015.
But $30m is a relatively petite amount of money when it comes to funding a Moon mission. The companies contesting have business models far beyond the Google prize, with the real prize being the potential treasure trove of valuable minerals.
“The most significant thing about the Moon is very likely the stuff wij toevluchthaven’t even discovered,” says Mr Richards. “But what wij do know is that there could be more platinum-group metals on the surface of the Moon than all of the reserves of Earth. The wedstrijd is on.”
But can anyone own the Moon, and what happens if numerous companies and countries succeed ter getting there?
What might be on the Moon?
- So-called rare-earth minerals, which are used te a range of technologies. Presently, they are refined almost exclusively te China
- Water frozen ter the dark recesses of polar craters, which according to Nasa can be split into hydrogen for rocket fuel and oxygen for breathing
- Helium-3 (He-3), which evidently exists ter abundance on the Moon. Some believe He-3 could be a future energy source
- Valuable titanium deposits
According to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty no nation can own the Moon, and most people believe that extends to individuals and companies. But would-be Moon miners can have something like property rights. And there is an advantage to getting there very first and werkonderbreking claims.
“Appropriation and ownership is not permitted under the treaty, but free access exploitation is encouraged,” says space lawyer James Dunstan. “You can’t own it, but you can go there and use it, so how do wij balance those two?”
China has plans to land a probe on the Moon straks this year and astronauts by 2020. Because China’s lunar plans are more ambitious than most, some fear they may get too much control of the moon.
Dunstan does not think China would flout international laws to build up an upper mitt te space, but it will be difficult to police.
“Trade sanctions would be very harsh if there were a rogue country or rogue corporation driving around tearing up other people’s stuff.”
If Moon Express and others are right, it’s conceivable that ter the future the lunar surface could host a colony of mining robots and astronauts who could use the Moon spil a base to explore further into the solar system.
Richards believes humans will detect ways to live on the Moon permanently.
“Wij’re becoming a multi-world species. That will toebijten. The very first footprints on Expeditie by human beings will toebijten te our lifetime te the next Ten to 20 years,” he says.
“People, themselves, will be transformed. They’ll be merging with their technologies. And that which wij call human will become redefined spil wij find how to reprogramme our bods to live longer, how wij find machines that are able to symbiotically work with us to cure disease.
“So that which wij consider human today will proceed to evolve.”
Moon Express, which has its offices at Nasa Ames’ research centre, is funded by entrepreneur Naveen Jain.
Jain says that location is key because he believes Silicon Valley will become the huis to space pioneers.
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“Wij are those crazy people who think that every idea is a crazy idea until wij make it toebijten and then people say, ‘Of course’,” he says.
So, if wij’re going to live on the Moon one day, shouldn’t wij worry about polluting it? Won’t armies of digging robots mess up our future real estate?
Nasa planetary scientist Margarita Marinova thinks wij won’t make the same mistakes te space that wij’ve made on Earth and that man can’t afford to explore space without tapping the local resources to sustain.
“For mij, it’s a little hard because I do see thesis planets spil very beautiful and very pristine te a way wij don’t truly have on Earth anymore, and so the idea of mining is a little difficult,” she says.
The potential resources from the Moon are vast. M Darby Dyar, a professor of astronomy at Climb on Holyoke Collegium ter Massachusetts, says the reservoirs of water ice ter the dark, polar regions of the Moon most likely come from comets that succesnummer the moon overheen the past four billion years, and that future moon miners could strike it rich with precious metals te ancient lunar rocks.
But even if no company makes the 2015 deadline to win the Google Prize, Dyar says the Google Lunar prize has already yielded comebacks on Earth.
“I lived through the excitement of the Apollo era, my father helped vormgeving thrusters on the lunar landing modules and those remembered feelings of patriotism and wonder about the universe are what brought mij into lunar science te the very first place.
“When I mitt a child a meteorite and tell hier that it’s four billion years old, hier entire framework of reference switches, and that’s what science should do. Not everyone wants to be a scientist but everyone can get excited about and learn to respect and understand its breakthroughs.
“Competitions like this bring science to the public’s eyes. Where better than the Moon, which seems so close to us?”
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