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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lunar Industries, Ltd. within the decade?

The next sprint to the moon ia gearing up as an extra-terrestrial gold rush with the five biggest space agencies getting together in Quebec City, Canada this week to discuss an idea gaining currency in business and scientific circles: that within human reach lies an unfathomable wealth of resources, some of them common on Earth and others so exotic that they could change the way we live.

Several countries, including China, have expressed a desire to start mining the moon's resources, reports Peter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press, noting that moon is home to a number of compounds that are not readily available on Earth — like Helium-3, a gas that could potentially fuel future nuclear-fusion power plants. Such a development would hold drastic implications for human activity, beginning with energy consumption. The moon also contains gold, platinum-group elements, and rare-earth elements.

Drilling for lunar resources may not be that far off. Some predict it could start by the end of this decade. With hydrogen, the moon could hold the energy necessary to launch flights into deeper space. Several countries are even looking beyond the moon for possible mining sites, to Mars and also to asteroids.

Creating a permanent lunar outpost would be a precondition for any such projects. The Russians have already been talking about establishing a moon base by the year 2020. The Japanese are considering a robot-tended base. The Chinese have designs on the Moon too. More from The Washington Post.

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