• 4 minutes England Running Out of Water?
  • 7 minutes Trump to Make Allies Pay More to Host US Bases
  • 10 minutes U.S. Shale Output may Start Dropping Next Year
  • 14 minutes Washington Eyes Crackdown On OPEC
  • 4 hours The Political Debacle: Brexit delayed
  • 6 hours No Mercy: EU Fines Google $1.7 billion For Abusing Online Ads Market
  • 8 hours Trump sells out his base to please Wallstreet and Oil industry
  • 7 hours 3 Pipes: EPIC 900K, CACTUS II 670K, GREY OAKS 800K
  • 15 hours Tidal Power Closer to Commercialisation
  • 5 hours New Rebate For EVs in Canada
  • 17 hours Read: OPEC THREATENED TO KILL US SHALE
  • 16 hours Will Trump Cave Again
  • 16 hours Solar to Become World's Largest Power Source by 2050
  • 6 hours Biomass, Ethanol No Longer Green
  • 4 hours Oil-sands recovery by solvents has started on a trial basis; first loads now shipped.
  • 22 hours Oil stocks are heating up again! What's on your Watchlist?
  • 22 hours Boeing Faces Safety Questions After Second 737 Crash In Five Months
Alt Text

Why OPEC’s Decision To Delay Makes Sense

OPEC’s decision to maintain the…

Alt Text

U.S.-China Trade Deal Driven By Energy Exports

U.S. energy exports appear to…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Trending Discussions

Lunar Drilling: The Resource Race For The Moon Is On

The race for the Moon is on. Nobody is really sure exactly what resources are located on the Moon, or how vast they are, but a growing number of companies believe the Moon could hold large quantities of natural resources for extraction.

This concept of the Moon as a source of natural resources for humankind is by no means new, but the last few years have seen a lot of developments in advancing this concept to a more practical level.

There is Google’s Lunar X Prize competition, launched in 2007, promising the winning team $20 million if they can successfully land a rover on the Moon, have this rover travel at least 500 meters and transmit HD images and video. So far, 16 teams have entered the competition.

There is Elon Musk’s SpaceX shuttle, which just the other day completed its fifth successful retrieval and second successful landing of a Falcon 9 rocket. The shuttle will probably be used to transport the rovers partaking in the Google competition.

Then there is Lunar Mission One, a private company working on its own independent Moon mission. Lunar Mission One was set up with a Kickstarter campaign and aimed to drill into the surface of the Moon at its South Pole by 2024. The planned depth of drilling was very impressive when it was announced in 2014: between 20 and 100 meters, given that the Moon’s South Pole is a super cold, deep-freeze kind of place. Not much progress has been reported since then, however. Related: Why Lithium Will See Another Price Spike This Fall

The South Pole of the Moon is also the target of another mission, Luna-Resurs. Conceived and developed in Russia with Indian participation, the mission has now added the European Space Agency, which has agreed to fund and build a prototype drill and a chemical lab to analyze whatever the drill takes out of the Moon—a package together known as Prospect.

Initially, the ESA will provide 8 million euro ($8.81 mln) for the project and a further injection of 65 million euro ($71.6 mln) will have to be agreed by the European ministers. This second sum also includes funding for work on an autonomous navigation system by the name of Pilot, to be used to land the probe on the Moon.

The drill and the chemical lab will be constructed by Italy’s aerospace major Leonardo, formerly Finmeccanica. The drill will be able to penetrate the deeply frozen surface of the Moon in the South Pole Aitken Basin at 1 meter. The principal goals of the mission are to look for water and “other volatiles”, according to Richard Fisackerly, the lead engineer on the project from the ESA side. Related: Halliburton Reports $3.2 Billion Loss, But Sees Activity Picking Up

These volatiles—oxygen, hydrogen, etc—could be used as part of life support systems for people living and working on the Moon, as energy source for these colonizers, and also as rocket fuel at a later point. The location for the mission, on the other hand, has been chosen because of its depth. The South Pole Aitken Basin is the largest impact basin on the Moon and one of the deepest. This means that potentially valuable natural resources are closer to the surface there.

It may look strange that Europe is teaming up with Russia, especially in light of recent tensions between the two, but there is a perfectly good explanation: Europe cannot afford a standalone Lunar mission. It had plans to have one, but the ministers refused to cough up the 500 million euro it would have taken. Since economic recovery for most of Europe is still not well visible on the horizon, a partnership was the only sensible option if Europe did not want to lag behind the U.S.

Even if the Moon’s resources are not in large enough amounts for industrial mining, if there is water, there may be a chance for colonizing the Moon in a real way…so we can start leaving the Earth before we suffocate it completely.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment
  • JP DeCaen on July 21 2016 said:
    I hope the author is not serious about the last paragraph. If we are too dumb to survive on this big wonderful planet, you can imagine what our chances are on the moon. I'm all for exploration, but let's give our planet a chance.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News