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.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
Surprising Science
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Top Video Splash
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less