Why We Should Mine the Moon Before Asteroids

The moon is closer, we can get there faster, lunar missions are less risky and equipped with better technology. The company MoonEx has been planning lunar mining with NASA for years.

What's the Latest Development?


The space start up Planetary Resources made headlines last month when it announced its intention to mine asteroids for water and precious metals. But a closer target--the moon--has been the focus of another space mining company, named MoonEx, for years. The Google Lunar X Prize contender is currently developing a lunar landing system for NASA which could launch as early as 2014. While mining asteroids is perhaps the bolder vision, mining the moon in the meantime makes good sense because of its proximity, shorter time horizon and the availability of current technology. 

What's the Big Idea?

The promise of near-infinite mineral resources in space promises to alleviate long-term concerns over our planet's resource scarcity. Proponents of asteroid mining say that harvesting water from space rocks could hydrate humans in base-based living quarters and help create an interplanetary fuel chain by using water's hydrogen to propel ships. Whatever happens, the business equation for space-based enterprises is set to move away from measuring space technology spinoffs, such as Velcro shoes, to creating entirely new and self-sustaining economies.

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Should you defend the free speech rights of neo-Nazis?

Former president of the ACLU Nadine Strossen discusses whether our society should always defend free speech rights, even for groups who would oppose such rights.

Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen understands that protecting free speech rights isn't always a straightforward proposition.
  • In this video, Strossen describes the reasoning behind why the ACLU defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis in Skokie, Illinois, 1977.
  • The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of the Charles Koch Foundation, which encourages the expression of diverse viewpoints within a culture of civil discourse and mutual respect.
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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
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  • There are 3 design principles that lead to great conversations: humility, critical thinking, and sympathetic listening.
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Credit: Purdue University photo/Jorge Castillo Quiñones
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
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Belly fat: Gut bacteria checks could lead to personalized diets

The reason one diet does not suit all may be found in our guts.

Media for Medical / Getty Images
Surprising Science
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  • A future doctor may check gut bacteria to offer diet advice.
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