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posted by martyb on Wednesday January 23 2019, @02:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the can-you-dig-it? dept.

The European Space Agency plans to start mining for natural resources on the moon

The European Space Agency plans to start mining for water and oxygen on the moon by 2025.

The agency announced Monday it has signed a 1-year contract with European aerospace company ArianeGroup to explore mining regolith, also known as lunar soil or moon dust.

Water and oxygen can be extracted from regolith, potentially making it easier for humans to spend time on the moon in the future, according to ArianeGroup. The research could also make it possible to produce rocket fuel on the moon, enabling future expeditions to go further into space, the aerospace company said.

[...] The mission would be a collaboration between aerospace scientists and technicians in France, Germany and Belgium. The project is now in the research phase, with scientists hoping to use an Ariane 64 rocket in coming years to send mining equipment to the moon.

Previously: New ESA Head W├Ârner: 'We Could Build All Kinds of Things with Moon Concrete'
ESA Expert Envisions "Moon Village" by 2030-2050

Related: Moon Base Could Cost Just $10 Billion Due to New Technologies
How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
Who Owns The Moon? A Space Lawyer Answers

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Immerman on Wednesday January 23 2019, @03:07AM (1 child)

    by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday January 23 2019, @03:07AM (#790433)

    Not even one grain - any change in mass whatsoever will have an effect on the tides. Just a proportionally minuscule one.

    How much before the effects become noticeable? That's a kind of arbitrary line, but if we say a 0.1% reduction in the force of lunar gravity would be noticeable, then we could remove 0.1% of the Moon's mass.

    How much is that in tonnes? Mass of moon(=7*10^22kg) * 0.1%(=10^-3) = 7*10^19kg = 70 million billion tonnes.

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  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Wednesday January 23 2019, @03:21AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Wednesday January 23 2019, @03:21AM (#790440) Journal

    Thank you, both.
    I was being a little disingenuous or flippant, but I appreciate the real answers.

    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex