As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump is eyeing something a little more...celestial, if you will, signing an executive order that will bar any international efforts to prevent the removal of resources from the moon.
On Monday morning, President Trump signed an executive order, which has been in the works for over a year, aptly titled “Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources.” The order stresses that the 1967 space treaty enables the use of resources on the moon, Mars, and other places.
“Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity and the United States does not view space as a global commons," the order states, adding that “Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space."
This arrangement also specifies, however, that any businesses in space should comply with international law. In 2015, the Obama Administration passed a law giving the green light to American firms to utilize resources from the moon and asteroids.
This executive order should come as no surprise. Trump has taken a consistent interest in asserting American power in the final frontier, creating the Space Force branch of the U.S. military in 2018 with the goal of carrying out space warfare if needed. The new executive order, however, now aims to clear the path for businesses to go all-in on Trump's plans.
Scientists have long believed that future missions to the moon would yield major resource opportunities that could be used in the energy sector or other purposes. NASA's Artemis program intends to bring Americans back to the moon by 2024.
Researchers are investing a lot of time and resources in new ways for astronauts to live-with and take advantage of the unique ecosystems of celestial destinations. These projects include sustainable shelters, renewable energies and much more.
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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To get anything to the Moon and back takes an enormous amount of energy, which cost a lot of money and generates a LOT of pollution on the Earth, for even one trip. Returning from the Moon requires extensive heat shielding, since the vehicle hits the atmosphere at tremendous speed, generating a huge amount of heat. Landing anything heavier than a few people would require rocket propulsion to slow the vehicle enough for landing, since the parachutes like were used in Apollo, would not be nearly big enough to land anything heavy, like mined stuff.
As far as the possibility of mining the Moon for Helium 3 to use in fusion reactors, that is a science fiction dream. We will be lucky if 'normal' fusion can be made to work at a cost which we will be able to afford. Just because something can be done, does not mean it will be economic to do it. Remember when electricity from nuclear reactors would be, 'to cheap to measure'? How has that worked out? See hundreds of new nuclear power plants being built?
It is all another Trump stunt to impress the ignorant.
Lunar gravity is one sixth of Earth = Easy and cheap orbit and downhill to earth reentry. Cargo without living passengers WILL be profitably sent to earth within 20 years. Betcha it starts with high value per weight/volume items, processed in no/low gravity and hard vacuum. 2 weeks straight of strong sun will be concentated industrial heat, unshielded compact nuke power over other 2 weeks a month. Alaska oil rush will be dwarfed by space-rush.