The Race to Mine the Moon Is Taking Off, Here’s What’s Coming

The Race to Mine the Moon Is Taking Off, Here’s What’s Coming


We’re going into a totally different phase
of space. The first time it was about two superpowers trying to prove their technological
prowess and they set the moon as their objective and then we realized. There’s a lot in space
that we can actually utilize. The oxygen that you need, the propellant, the bricks to build
a home are already there. You don’t need to bring it from Earth. That’s the value of
resources. The living off the land concept is the one that we’re searching for right
now. That’s going to enable more exploration, allow us to travel further. It has been realized
not just by our own space agency, but by dozens of space agencies around the world. By companies
that see an opportunity here to get involved. And when you get the whole world behind something
like this, you know that it’s time to go. The Moon is shaping up to be a critical destination
in the 2020s. The big vision? Establish it as a celestial boomtown, where new technologies
can be tested and the moon’s raw materials can be harnessed to power future missions. Space
resources is anything that you can use beyond earth. It could be solar power, microgravity,
it could be vacuum in space, or it could be something more concrete like metals, and minerals
and gasses and water on the moon. In fact the very first resource we utilized from space
was just the view from above. The ability to look at Earth has given us weather forecasting,
global communications, GPS systems, the ability to look at the effects that we’re causing
on Earth. Angel Abbud Madrid has been focused on the potential of space resources for decades. He’s
watched political objectives switch targets from the Moon, to Mars and asteroids, and
then back to the Moon. No matter the target, for Angel, space resources are key if we want
to explore further, and the Moon is the ultimate proving ground. Nothing beats the Moon. You
can see it every night. The rest are just dots up in the dark sky. This is a place that
is close, the place where we can test systems. Now that the space industry is a $350 billion
industrial juggernaut, with new start-ups and commercial initiatives racing to land
on the lunar surface, Angel launched the world’s first graduate program on space
resources to prepare the next generation. All of the young people feel that this is
their time, this is their moon and they want to be a part of it. We’re definitely not
just focused on the technology, because engineers get really excited about developing things. There’s
a technological, scientific, economic, legal, and even the psychological aspects of a new
phase in space. This new pivot is not about extracting resources and bringing them back
to Earth. It’s about creating a new manufacturing pipeline off-world. Every little bolt, every
little nut, all of the human consumables, all of the propellant have come from Earth,
and that is extremely expensive. You look at any rocket. Ninety percent of that rocket
is fuel to launch the tiny little ten percent that could be a satellite, could be a capsule
with humans. And so, that’s not a sustainable way to explore. It’s going to limit us to
what we can do. That is why, one of the most important resources that we’re going to go
after is what can help us make propellant in space. Ask any space resources expert and
they’ll likely tell you that: “water is the oil of space.” Back in 2009, NASA slammed
a used rocket tank near the Moon’s south pole, confirming the presence of water ice and other
volatiles in these permanently shadowed regions. If you can recover the water, you can convert
it into breathable oxygen for astronauts, or split it into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket
fuel. There’s the idea of using the moon as a refueling station. So you don’t need
to carry as much fuel from Earth to get out of Earth’s atmosphere and gravity well. Launch
to the moon, refuel at the moon, and then launch somewhere deeper in space like Mars. It
is totally science fiction in reality. But before we can build a lunar propellant depot,
there’s a tremendous amount of work ahead. There’s three things that we have to have in mind
in order to extract resources from any other planet. First of all, you have to know the
resource that you’re going to extract. Then you have to know exactly if it’s ice on the
surface, is it snow, is it dirty ice, is it below the surface, is it combined with the
soil. We need to get down there and see what’s happening. NASA is planning to send a golf
cart sized rover to the Moon for a prospecting mission, dubbed VIPER. Viper stands for Volatile
Investigating Polar Exploration Rover. So it’s kind of a mouthful, but that really describes
what it does. It’s meant for the polar regions. It’s meant to drive all around for miles and
miles, taking samples of what’s there. At the helm of VIPER’s drilling operations
is Honeybee Robotics. They’re veteran drill experts and roboticists who’ve developed
this planetary drill. In true space biz fashion, it’s got an acronym too: TRIDENT, or the
Regolith and Ice Drill for Exploration of New Terrains. The Trident drill has been
in development for almost two decades. The idea is that it’s a rotary percussive drill.
That means it rotates and hammers down to one meter. It takes a little bites of the
ground and it pulls up the sample. And then the NASA instruments are going to look for
water or any other volatiles that come out of the soil. It’s very small and compact. It
has to be super dust tolerant. The moon is known for being very difficult with dust.
VIPER is going to last a couple of lunar days, which means that it needs to survive the lunar
night. So it needs to be low power. It needs to be light mass. It needs to never get stuck. Once
it’s in space, it’s in space. You can’t go out and just fix it. It just has to work,
and work for a really, really long time. We do a lot of testing here. We take them to
the farthest reaches of the earth just to make sure they’ll last. Through all of the
testing we’ve done to date, we have not been able to get this drill stuck, even when we’ve
tried to. NASA talks about technology readiness level or TRL. TRL 6 is sort of the cusp of
when something is ready to be developed for flight. So, that’s where we’re at right now. All
the prospecting phase, technology demonstration will have to be undertaken by robots. It’s
the cost and the extreme environment that you’re gonna be facing. Right now, the cost
to send a kilogram to low earth orbit is about $4,000. Thirty five thousand dollars to put
it on the surface of the moon. Multiply that by 10 or by 50 to have humans. You’re looking
at a place with radiation, you’re looking at a place that is dark, that lacks communications,
so why send a human to do that job first, send somebody else. And that somebody else
is a rover that can tell us, okay, this is what I found. Once we’ve prospected and
know more about the water ice, step two and three in this future lunar depot plan come
into play. Now, you know the resources, but do you have the technology to recover it,
under any environment that you’re going to be dealing with. Within the first ten years
you’ll see some of the technologies to prove how you can extract them. And third, you have
to have a customer. As important as science and technology and knowing your resources
and how you’re going to extract them, is everything that comes around it. Some of the companies
that are trying to get involved in this, they’re asking those questions. Can I actually extract
them? Is anybody interested? And is this legal? I don’t want to touch it if the Outer Space
Treaty of 1967 tells me that no country can own any piece of celestial land. You cannot
own the moon. You cannot own asteroids. That’s been signed by more than 100 countries. And
so, how am I going to extract the resource? Well, is there a way that without owning that
object, the Moon or an asteroid, can I claim a certain space, be there for a couple of
years, extract whatever I have to do and then leave. As of January 2020, only the United
States  and Luxembourg have passed laws that allow commercial companies to extract resources. At
some point, we have to agree on this. So that has pushed efforts to bring countries
together to talk about it. This is an important conversation that we’re trying to have, because
there’s some attachment to the Moon. All civilizations have looked to the Moon in different
ways. They see it as a place that some people have religious connection to it, philosophical
connections, or just, the beauty of it. And so, we’re going to have to agree on what’s
doable and what’s not. Now that we have the vision, what will lunar robots look like in
the future? And how exactly are scientists going to turn the moon’s billion year old
water into rocket fuel? Check out the second part to find out!

100 Comments on "The Race to Mine the Moon Is Taking Off, Here’s What’s Coming"


  1. I know greater minds than mine have certainly done research on this but I haven't found any papers on it. Is it possible that we mine enough from the moon to affect its orbit?

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  2. Why tf would we mine the moon? I wouldn't take a sing piece off of it. Messing with its gravity when we need it for its tidal effects. Messing with Its orbit in any way. The moon is the one place we should leave alone

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  3. Leave the moon alone. Corporations will destroy the moon. They destroy everything they touch including humans

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  4. We should have been mining on the moon for 30 years by this time. So the faster we get the diggers to the moon, the faster we can (re) start our exploration of our solar system and become multiplanet like Elon Musk said as well. We, as a human race should join forces on the moon to succeed in our evolution.

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  5. They try to be lawless. Utilize ge says. Don't resource yourself after helping others take from those who want their own. These clips just keep try I ng to eveready itsself

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  6. Am bit confused. In 1969 we've been on the moon. But in 2020 we still on earth just wondering how to build a machine that is size of golf car or whatever to collect samples. While we should be there collecting our samples by our hands. So yeah it's 2020

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  7. Yep that's the anserw for us. Exploit another planet cause we fucked this one up and we just don't give a damn about trying to fix it. Why don't we just leave other planet's alone. Resources from other planets to help us exsist cause we use our up. Why cause we are a planet that is over populated and continues to grow in population every year. But yet you don't hear scientists talking about over population and methods to control it. This is the real problem has been for awhile but is always ignored. The more people we have or that are born every year is that many more mouths to feed. More land to grow food, more land to be taken for housing, more water to be used, more waste created . This doesn't stop but continues and will and continue with no solution except to invade and ruin other planets. To satisfy the every grow population and the needs that cone with that. May seem like a good idea but look around you and see how we destroy this planet we live on and ignore our duty to repair the damage. We are so technologically advanced but we can't even find ways to deal with our pollution or how to fix the damage we do on a daily basis. Why any one would be excited about something like this is just beyond me and sad at the same time. Hopefully the universe won't allow that to happen. Cause there is a pattern here if it happens (use and abuse). And over several life times there will be no place very inhabital. Because in our struggle to survive we destroy that which helps sustain us. We bury mother earth under concrete and waste of all kinds and trash. Then we stand around and scratch our heads wondering why we're in the predicament we're in. Address the root cause, find a solution, then the problem becomes fixable. Man that's a terrible thought, other planet's inhabited by the human race, a greedy hateful bunch of life forms that are never satisfied.

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  8. I thought America has been to the moon before 🤔. This should be relatively quite easy for them. Unless the Neil Armstrong spectacle was all cinema theatrics 😭😂

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  9. Not feasible for now. We need purpose for mining the moon. Eg: 1. Conversion from mining to farmland for earth 2. Overexpensive exotic mineral

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  10. NASA spends about $10,000 USD/lb to get water to space. If you can capture a comet and sell the water to NASA for $9000 USD/LB you’ll be in business.

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  11. Woah woah woah don't us the TAX PAYERS get a say in this!!!? You're telling me I've been paying my taxes THINKING us Americans are going to the moon and Mars but in actuality we're paying for the WORLD!!? What are we Cattles!!? Space is ours WE have a say in this I WANT A VOTE FOR USA TO CLAIM ALL SPACE/GALAXY why shouldn't we have a say? At least we know if WE Americans own space it'll be fair , How come I wasn't told about this!?

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  12. The Great Lunar Cataclysm was a disaster that took place in the year 2037 It devastated the Earth, leading to Humanity's degeneration into Eloi and Morlocks, “the time machine”

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  13. 🤔 Think about it please, my fellow deep thinkers. Recent announcement of the Space Force. Cataclysmic event world-wide. Jupiter no longer absorbing extinction level event objects. Manned missions to Mars being discussed openly and often. Extraterrestrial visitation is a near guarantee, at this point. Habitable world discovered regularly, it seems. All of this to say, simply, that we are approaching a RESET of things known and believed by the masses. A slow reveal has been taking place for decades now. The realm of Sci-fiction has merged seamlessly with the realm of reality. The average informed adult is aware of and can openly discuss truths that would have gotten said informed adult placed in a padded room a mere 50yrs ago. The moon has likely been occupied by another species for millennia and the powerful know it. We have been there longer and more often than they tell us. Wake up my friends. NASA and world govts. have been concealing a great many things from us to maintain the status quo. Religion has limited mankind's potential mightily. The wise have understood it as false, the commoner has viewed it as true, while the POWERFUL have always viewed it as USEFUL. Profit through control has kept the FEW in control of the many. Our reality and our potential is vast while most are trapped living with a perspective devoid of actually possibility. We must DEMAND the truth and rebuke the lies. There is not much time left, I fear. Might as well learn all that we can before the end.

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  14. The treaty say countries can't claim celestial bodies it's says nothing about people, corporations or other entities.

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  15. Watch. It will take a bit if time and lots of money to discover it is all too impractical and it is time to quit.

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  16. This is bad….a disaster with the moon can range from tidal changes to apocalyptic fragments entering the earth. Look how fast we have ruined this planet since the industrial age started and the moon is much smaller, maybe even more fragile. I am all for mining meteors but not our moon.

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  17. We may want to secure ourselves another planet before we start removing mass from our only moon that orbits our only planet.

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  18. m.r.e. meals ready to eat/// s.h.i.e.l.d. Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division///// c.y.l.o.n. cybernetic lifeform node//// v.i.p.e.r. volatile investigating polar exploration rover <– yes our lack of imagination has found a crutch just acronym the frack out of it 😀 you can even reboot/recycle/reuse it just add a 2.0 or mark 2 meanwhile college professors want you too know the life history of the rich guy who saved whales or the woman who slept with gorillas in the mist ya know 'cuz it's important to fill your mind with copious amounts of lint.

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  19. If a country can not make it to the moon then they have no say over say the US or some other country going to the moon and utilizing the resources.

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  20. First of all check your facts plz.. don't give us false information.. it was not nasa to discover the water it was isro to discover it… ISRO's chandryaan 1 was the one firing lunar impact towards the south pole… It just had a nasa payload.. that doesn't mean it discovered it .. isro discovered it.. check your facts and then make a video

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  21. So, rather than destroy our own planet, we’ll just destroy random celestial objects from now on? Got it 👍

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  22. Just do it on the back. I don't want to see disgusting human industrial bullshit every time I look at it

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  23. Did they come up with the acronyms or the names first or did the form the names around the acronyms, "It missions is just days, but the tool has to work, and work for a really really long time." They are lying so much they can't remember what they said.

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  24. Remember those moonrocks Armstrong have to the museum that had them tested and found they were earth petrified wood with man made elements. We never went to the moon and we never will.

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  25. The most important step going forward is making sure that the people we send into space is a diverse mix of people. We shouldnt pick the best and the brightest, just the most diverse. Diversity is the key.

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  26. Yay… Lets all depend on resources from our lunar companion or any other nearby world so that one day its mass and orbit will decay. Which, sadly will have dire consequences on the core of our little blue orb. just give it a few thousand years. oh wait! Not one person today will be around then. So, no one really cares.

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  27. Hope humans are not that retarded … soon we will hollow out the moon and it will just drift away wreaking havok on the planets oceans … but hey there might be money there …fuckin humans..

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  28. Yeah, you think that the moon is a floating lump of coal or something. You dumbass. No-one has been there.. if so the super rich would have exploited it and bloody ruined it by now. Y'all wanna grow a brain.

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  29. Nice try CIA. Everyone knows you and NASA are totally full of shit. Hey everyone, google search “Earth from space”. Gather up all the NASA images and compare them. Let me know if you still think we can get to space. It’s a total fraud.

    https://youtu.be/Bwibj337i2U

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  30. It all sounds like the game kerby space program. I hope this doesn't happen for a very long time because we frist need to fix the problems that we haven't done anything about down here on earth. I glad we have long term goals but unless we as a species come to the realization that we most first grow up both mentally and emotionally before heading out into space other wise we will just be bringing our lack of maturity and all the problems that has resulted from that to wherever we go. We still kill and murder each over resources and there are a whole lot of people who still don't have the most basic resources to live down here on earth. It's like the whole of mankind is indifferent to the suffering of our fellow man. Our knowledge has out paced our heart's ability to create a world in which we all can live without fear of the people who control our society from behind closed doors and until we all unite together and change the balance of the way this world is in now there's little reason to believe that anything will change. Hopefully one day things down here on earth will change for the better and I hope it doesn't come at the cost of losing and or destroying everything before we can get there.

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  31. Mining rights are different. Watch the UN change policy due to pressure by Governments on behalf of companies.

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  32. Some researchers believe the Moon is an alien being or is being controlled by extraterrestrials from within the Moon which is most likely because the Moon is becoming more like a device because of what extraterrestrials are building within our Moon.

    Of course there are non-human intelligence living on our moon. (Reptilian beings and Greys mostly. They're performing mining and building bases and underground bases and because of this, they stopped us humans from going to the moon until they are finished. We the people visited the moon since the early 1970s, Any human that disobey and go to the moon will be terminated.

    Our Moon is a Device. The reason why our moon glows or changes colors is not because of sun angles, it's not because of cloud, weather or atmospheric conditions and it's not because of an Eclipse. The Earth's Moon glows and changes colors because it's a device being operated from within. This is the reason why Draconians prohibited human life on the moon since the early 1970s because they and tall Greys were and still are mining the moon- making it hollowed just like did earth, but for the moon they're transforming the moon into some kind of device.

    When the glows or change colors that means some major device is turned on inside the moon. The moon has a fragile layer so we can actually see light or a glow admitting from the moon. What kind of device they're creating is unknown for now, but the moon will not be part mechanical.

    As you should already understand know, there are Bases on the Moon built by Non-Earthlings. Of course NASA has clear real photos of the alien bases on the moon, but they are afraid to show them however, they have shown many blurry ones and some were leaked to the Internet. NASA hasn't been afraid to show clear photos of Mars though, it's because Mars is an empty abandoned planet with no activity with no intelligent life. In some of these Moon photos, if you observe closely, then you'll actually see structural buildings.
    Multiple space stations and satellites have been created by these non earthlings and are around our Earth in space as well as monitoring-satellites within Earth's atmosphere which sometimes looks like moving stars during an clear night sky. The Moon is definitely an permanent station.

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  33. How about the fact that without an atmosphere, there will many meteorite strike events. Is there any way to protect critical infrastructure on the Moon from such events causing catastrophic damage?

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  34. Yes…of course! The US Government will abandon any rule of law to the detriment of the rest of the planet that allows them to screw everyone else over for their gain.

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  35. Most of the fuel for rockets leaving the Earth is spent pushing Air out of the way rather than rushing up GO SLOW take a robotic zeppelin craft up to near space fold a launch frame between two lifting bodies you get reusability and vastly reduced costs.

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  36. I remember the day when different countries are racing to go to moon mates, and now they are planning to mine it………Wow! time run so fast mates

    Btw im 14 years old now👴👴

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  37. NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO MINE THE MOON. ITS TOO SMALL AND FRAGILE. ITS MOVING AWAY FROM US 4 INCHES A YR.
    ONLY TOURISTY BASES W RESEARCH SHOULD BE ALLOWED. DONT SAY THE KIDS WANT US TO KILL THE MOON. THEY DO NOT. ONLY GREEDY ADULTS WANT THAT. IT SHOULD BE A WAY STATION TO THE ASTEROID BELTS AND BUILD PRODUCTION INFROSTRUCTURE THERE. ANYTHING ELSE IS A THREAT TO THE MOON AND THE EARTH. THIS IS SO BRAINDEAD AND FOOLISH. LEAVE THE MOON ALONE. IT BELONGS TO THE FUTUTRE.
    TIME TO TAKE PROFIT OUT AS A MOTIVE AND MAKE IT JUST ABOUT EXPLORATION.
    CAPITALISM DESTROYS E V E R Y T H I N G IT TOUCHES. ITS A DANGER TO HUMAN SURVIVAL AND THE EARTH.

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  38. If it's useful and used on the moon ? I hope it works…hopefully this can change so much if it works good luck guys n gals

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  39. "Do you think we'll go too far?"
    A line spoken by the character played by Mark Addy from the movie "THE TIME MACHINE" just a few years before the moon breaks up.
    Well, are we going too far?

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  40. How about just showing us a successful spacesuit test in a vacuum chamber? Haven't seen one yet. Only fails, and pressure tests which is the exact opposite. This is all fantasy fiction

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  41. Send robots because they don't spill secrets. Or lie. Or tell the truth. Next level deceptions take next level participants

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  42. So will mining the moon be what finally end us all … Removing material from the moon won't cause problems with the tides ?

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  43. LOL.. LOOKS LIKE USA WILL LOSE THIS RACE… WE HAVE SOME HOW LOST THE TECHNOLOGY TO BACK TO THE MOON ACCORDING TO THIS CLOWNS OVER @ NASA… OR MAYBE WE NEVER WENT IN THE FIRST PLACE..!!!

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