China, US Are Racing to Make Billions From Mining the Moon's Minerals

  1. No one has been to the moon since the 70s, yet there is a "race" to not only return to the moon, but to establish massive industrial mining and refining operations there.

  2. There is no race. The article has a false headline, but what it discusses is the formation of international treaties that might end up reserving areas on the surface of the moon for certain countries, and how China is refusing to accept this kind of a scenario. It makes sense, why should celestial bodies other than Earth be divided into territories or borders? Human beings already fucked up this planet by dividing landmasses into nations separated by borders and greedily hoarding access to natural resources.

  3. The first person to do it will be able to profit the most. Eventually the market would catch up and it wouldnt be quite as profitable. I think thats the race at least.

  4. The moon is unowned land. Whoever makes it there can claim all the land they want until we actually make rules for land ownership in space and enforce them 20 years too late.

  5. If you were mining the moon I'd wait for you to almost finish and walk over with a laser gun and space pirate all your booty since there are no laws in space.

  6. Minerals are very heavy. You need to process huge quantities to extract the valuable elements in them. Unless you're planning to build processing plants on the moon, there's no way in Hell you'll be able to bring that heavy stuff back to Earth without huge rockets. Heck, even after processing, the stuff will still be incredibly heavy.

  7. It's probably going to be used for building things in space, since lifting mass from the Moon's surface into an orbit of the Moon requires a lot less fuel than lifting it off of the Earth's surface and into an orbit of the Earth.

  8. Actually is pretty easy. You just need to build a magnetic catapult and launch the cargo directly to Earth in a container that can survive reentry. Gravity will do the rest.

  9. Yea. I just don’t see how this is feasible. The moon is made up of the same stuff as the earth just really far away.

  10. I had to go to the Congo and check out a few cobalt mines for a finance firm I worked for like 8 years ago, and saw a couple that were owned or backed by Chinese companies. If those were any indication of what their lunar mining would look like, they'll just shoot a bunch of children and borderline slaves up there for $1.50 a day, not caring if 50% of the ships don't make it due to QC issues, then only give them a weeks worth of oxygen and use the corpses as fuel to blast the mined materials back to earth, having it where they will land somewhere in a 300 mile square radius, with a 50% chance of wiping out a whole village...

  11. I'd bet on some kind of low-earth-orbiting space billboard first and moon-face billboards never. Although it would be an engineering challenge to construct a sign with the apparent diameter of the moon in low earth orbit, and the idea of blasting holes in the ground (even on the moon) seems simpler, the scale would be insane. Think of how big a job digging the Panama Canal was, and it's not really visible from the moon.

  12. old communist joke said: the American President gets a call: "the communists are painting the moon red!!! now we can paint the coca cola logo"

  13. I feel like people are underestimating how big the moon is. It has a couple of Australias of surface area. Nobody is going to carve fucking words in it that are naked eye visible from Earth.

  14. Yes, because mining on the moon and shipping those minerals back to earth would be so easy and inexpensive. /s

  15. Multiple people asking if this will effect the tides, cause the moon to crash into the Earth, etc. Jesus fucking Christ people!

  16. Obviously we will do both. And then we will import all kinds of stuff from off-world, so that we can increase emissions on Earth even further.

  17. In the best place of the entire game. Sitting on that cubed rock watching the flowers blow back and forth listening to the Ambience in the Black Garden. Enjoying the peace and not chaos.

  18. Man that “new” (20 years old now, ok maybe not so new) Time Machine movie was really a mess.

  19. If we mined 1 metric ton of the moon every single day it'd take 220 million years to deplete 1% of the moon's mass.

  20. My issue is that they're racing to make billions off of the moon, but they're proceeding at a snails pace to do anything at all to preserve our current planet.

  21. How do they plan on mining the moon? Is there a form of mining that doesn’t use an obscene amount of water? Will extracting material from the moon affect tidal forces? I need answers

  22. "We choose to go to the moon and build a base, not because it is useful, but because it would be really cool." - Me, if I were president

  23. "We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy but because BOOMERS FUCKED US."

  24. Is this really an issue? I mean, the moon is kinda big. As long as you don't interfere with other nations operations space is kind of a grab bag, if you can get it.

  25. When people complain that developing countries like India are wasting money on their space program, one of the things I like to point out is that if poorer countries don't start developing these capabilities right now, they will lose out on pretty much the entire mineral wealth of the solar system to the current big space powers. The US, China and a few others are going to carve up the Moon and then Mars and the near-Earth asteroids between themselves, and anyone left behind is never getting a piece of the pie.

  26. So how much mass can you remove from the moon (and add to the earth) before the moon stops slowly spiraling away from earth and spirals INTO the earth with catastrophic effects in a lifetime (call it 40 more years)? Asking for a friend.

  27. If we're only considering newton's law of gravitation then the mass of the moon doesn't affect its orbit at all. The force of gravity acting on it is proportional to its mass, as is its momentum. If you cut half the mass out of the moon it will experience half as much force from gravity, but it will have half as much momentum. They cancel out and the orbit is unchanged.

  28. I'm mostly concerned about zooming income inequality to interplanetary levels. The initial funding will come from a few people on Earth who, for the most part, are already wealthy. Where will the bulk of the profits go?

  29. Searching offworld for resources is fine, but I wonder what the endgame of all of this is from a territory perspective. Who has what claims or ownership to what portions of any given planet, asteroid etc?

  30. The fear of diverting precious limited resources on a planet with a collapsing biosphere under the direction of a suicidal economic paradigm controlled by private interests, to go strip resources from the most inhospitable environment we know of not out of necessity but for profit, is not an irrational fear.

  31. A lot of these comments are very short sighted and lack a business perspective. Oil production was founded in 1857 but didn't become a major commodity until the early 1900s. There are many resources on the moon that could lead to significant breakthroughs in technology.

  32. Whenever people talk about moon mining or asteroid mining, there's always going to be someone crying about how we'll be violating the pristine nature of space or something.

  33. I can understand people having that stance about our Moon since it has cultural significance and is the main visual of our night sky. Other moons though, I tend to agree with you. Asteroids seem like a no-brainer.

  34. We've stripped Earth of everything and it's destroyed and ready to kill us to survive. Your POV is incredibly naive and around humans being the center of the universe and all that exists.

  35. Not wanting to violate the beauty of nature is a very privileged viewpoint to have. Most people on Earth want to improve their life, and that tends to come in conflict with wilderness.

  36. Yeah this is why the earth is the way it is. For some reasons humans think everything is inherently theirs because no other animal can tell them no or stop them. We should be fixing our planet not starting to dismantle another celestial body.

  37. Oil has a low value per unit mass, as do grains. But these bulk commodities are among the most valuable commodity markets on the planet.

  38. Moon mining would actually be great, and as things progress other types of industry on other celestial bodies. We could just zone the entire planet as residential/commercial

  39. I assume they'd be using these minerals for Moon construction because there is absolutely no way they can bring those minerals back to Earth.

  40. Literally not going to happen. Unless they discover something crazy and told no one, mining the moon won't create a profit. The good stuff is spread out way to much amongst the dust.

  41. I’m all for exploring and developing space but I sure hope we do a better job than all the other times humans have moved into an area to get resources.

  42. Possibly the most slo-mo race ever conducted. I would be really surprised if a single ton of anything was mined before the end of my natural lifespan.

  43. Am I the only one who feels like this will inevitably have massive negative effects on our ecosystem? Pretty sure the whole More Mass = More Gravity thing means that as we strip mine the moon we begin to mess with the tidal system

  44. As long as they discover the tall upright slab of weird material that turns saturn into a seccond sun, I'm all for it.

  45. Helium-3, just under the surface of the moon. Mine enough of it and you've got cheap reliable fusion reactors that can power entire nations, or better yet, deep space travel. You bet the US is going to be first.

  46. Dumb clickbait story. We got so much shit to worry about articles like this are fucking stupid.

  47. Reddits so funny it's a bunch of random people who have no creditionals. Who thinks from a headline, story that they comment on from scientists, government, yes u know everyone hates the government, like this yhay and another why they can't do it from they're laptops. Ahhh the downside of social media and life

  48. This is Helium-3. If we manage to sustain and scale up nuclear fusion, helium-3 is the fuel used for it.

  49. I am totally curious how many tons of moon one must bring on the earth until this becomes too light to be held by the own centrifugal force against the gravity of the earth.

  50. I can’t tell if this the comments are serious, but there is almost zero chance of this mining effecting our tides..

  51. Hundreds of billions of pounds to even remotely come close to having a slight impact. It's effectively impossible.

  52. Space is already highly toxic to life. We could dump anything, even radioactive materials, and still not negatively affect our ability to live there any worse than the sun's already doing.

  53. What's there to pollute anyway, no atmosphere to pollute anyway. The irradiated shithole wont be effected at all with our "pollution".

  54. The moon won't sustain any kind of atmosphere, will it? Anything more than like, one molecule per cubic centimeter.

  55. I'd rather have all that industrial pollution in space than on Earth, although I don't know how much pollution a rocket emits when compared to an average mining operation on Earth?

  56. There is no rock on the Moon so expensive as to make it profitable to transport from there to here. This isn't a profit-making venture, it's a boondoggle. And the way you know it's a boondoggle is that there's no private company that's funding this project through the voluntary investment of venture capital.

  57. Kind of surprised it took this long. Mining the moon and eventually asteroids seems like the logical leap to reduce dependence on stuff from earth. Of course it’ll take a lot of technological advancement to do it efficiently.

  58. So they want to take away even more jobs from hardworking earthlings? Outsourcing to other planets is a slippery slope

  59. Considering how great of a job we're doing turning earth into a corporate, capitalist hellscape, going to the moon to extract further profit will turn out super well for everyone and totally not just the wealthy few.

  60. You say that like capitalism isn’t the reason you’re living a cushy life or the reason that 7% of humans currently exist.

  61. the nice thing about technology is it does trickle down even if the profits don't. access to space will improve for everyone and the price of the precious metals mined will come down

  62. The moon is constantly hit with small and sometimes larger meteorites that have been increasing its mass ever since the moon came into existence. Humans won't be able to take material away fast enough to cause any problems, especially if the moon continues to gain mass from meteors

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