Moon mining may begin as early as 2025: Report
New Delhi : The plans of mining on Moon may turn into reality latest by 2025 as the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA) team has found evidence that the lunar surface may have rich metals than known earlier.
Using data from the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument onboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a team of researchers came to the conclusion that the lunar subsurface contains a higher concentration of certain metals, such as iron and titanium, than estimated.
The findings from the study have been published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. The hypothesis says that the Moon was formed after a planet of Mars-like size collided with Earth, which means it will have a major chunk of earth's upper crust.
"By improving our understanding of how much metal the moon’s subsurface actually has, scientists can constrain the ambiguities about how it has formed, how it is evolving and how it is contributing to maintaining habitability on Earth," lead study author Essam Heggy said in a statement.
The new evidence was discovered while scientists were trying to find the ice at the bottom of craters in the lunar north pole region, NASA said. It means that fine dust found at the base of those holes are parts of the deeper layers of the Moon, ejected during meteor impacts. As such, this dust represents the composition in deeper Moon layers.
US President Donald Trump signed an order in April encouraging citizens to mine the Moon and other celestial bodies with commercial purposes.
The directive classifies outer space as a “legally and physically unique domain of human activity” instead of a “global commons,” paving the way for mining the moon without any sort of international treaty.
“Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space,” the document states, noting that the US had never signed a 1979 accord known as the Moon Treaty. This agreement stipulates that any activities in space should conform to international law.
Russia’s space agency Roscosmos quickly condemned Trump’s move, likening it to colonialism.
“There have already been examples in history when one country decided to start seizing territories in its interest — everyone remembers what came of it,” Roscosmos’ deputy general director for international cooperation, Sergey Saveliev, said.