|Effective utilization of lunar resources may require an international regime to avoid potential conflicts and maximize the return on investment [NASA].|
The Space Review
While much has been learned about the Moon over the decades since the beginning of spaceflight, understanding of its potential resource wealth is incomplete and the technologies to exploit those resources remain to be developed. Now with China, Russia, and the US demonstrating the ability to land and operate on the Moon, and with ESA, India, Japan, and others developing such abilities, it is becoming increasingly clear that capabilities to exploit the resources of the Moon can be developed. Furthermore, the discovery of water in the lunar polar regions, near elevations in permanent sunshine, has led to the development of specific plans for the exploitation of the water resources for fuel for transportation operations in cislunar space, notably by Paul Spudis.
The obvious high value of the Moon’s water resources creates a basis for international competition—a Moon Race—and potential conflict. The necessity of an international regime for the exploitation of the natural resources of the Moon is likely to become an urgent matter for all spacefaring powers. The development of an effective international regime for the exploitation of the Moon’s resources would benefit from a thorough, internationally coordinated study of those resources and from the development of necessary technologies and governance mechanisms for their exploitation including funding for this purpose. What is proposed is an “International Lunar Decade” to study lunar resources and to develop capabilities for exploiting such resources with the following goals:
Read the full article at The Space Review, HERE.