As demand for metals grows, the Earth’s supply of resources also becomes gradually more depleted. The Earth does not produce infinite resources. It might sound like something from the far-off future, the moon could actually be the key to future mining, and NASA thinks it could be reality soon.
Earth’s depleted resources
China claims its resources could only last for 15-20 years. Yet it produces 90% of the world’s rare earth metals (REMs). These are incredibly important for our technological future.
However, the moon has a mess of 73q tons. It could take 220 million years to deplete even 1% of the moon’s mass. Even then, NASA claims that this “wouldn’t be enough to cause a change of orbit or affect the gravitation that causes tides.”
It would undoubtedly have environmental impacts, however. It would also potentially affect how we view the moon from Earth. Is it worth it? We may not have a choice.
Is it realistic?
European scientists recently announced plans to start mining the moon by 2025. This means that it could be a reality very soon, rather than a distant idea for the future. There have been talks over the viability of asteroid mining, which would likely be pioneered by private corporations.
Elon Musk has plans to start unmanned travel to Mars with his company Spacex, which could then lead to mining opportunities. Mars contains ores such as Iron, Aluminium and Titanium.
It seems space may be our next frontier for mineral resources.
Mining on the moon might not be as unrealistic as we think. Ultimately, Earth’s resources are finite – which means we will need to source resources from other planets if we want to continue progressing. A significant portion of the new technology disrupting society – renewable tech, electric vehicles, smartphones – demand metals that we only have a finite source of.
Mining on the moon might sound crazy – but in the next decade, it could actually begin to happen.
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