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Mining the Moon

14 May 2022

Chinese and Danish scientists have found evidence water existed on Mars. The downside is that they are thinking in terms of 3 billion years ago. The Chinese rover Zharong was involved – see https://phys.org/news/2022-05-chinese-rover-evidence-mars-thought.html … and then we have, mining on Mars, the moon, and asteroids.

At https://phys.org/news/2022-05-knew-mars-moon-asteroids.html … colonising Mars by humans will involve exploiting local resources, and the same goes for the moon. Asteroids on the other hand can be mined for people on earth, and they are thinking in terms of 30 years in the future. In situ resources are a necessity. Water, is of course, the main resource required for a presence on the moon or Mars. This explains the repeated stories revolving around the search for water. However, regoliths might be another resource, if humans are thinking of building habitations. Again, protection from solar radiation is a priority which is why they are looking at lava tubes as a hideaway.

Another material to extract would be rare earth elements, such as yttrium, lanthanum, and helium 3. They are rare on earth so represent a potential target in the future as rare earth elements are a necessity in the motors of electric vehicles and the generators of wind turbines. Minerals on asteroids could be useful as they contain nickel for example, and other metals to exploit. Mining in space could happen within the next 30 years we are informed. Is this realistic?

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