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Australia: well placed to join the Moon mining race … or is it?

26 8 7

IT’S 50 years since man first stepped on the Moon.

Now the focus is on going back to our nearest orbiting neighbour – not to leave footprints, but to mine the place.

Australia has a well-earned reputation as a mining nation. We are home to some of the largest mining companies (such as Vale, Glencore, Rio Tinto, and BHP), some of the best mine automation, and some of the best mining researchers.

But do we have the drive and determination to be part of any mining exploration of the Moon?

SEE ALSO: The road to infinity and beyond could start from these Asia Pacific nations

To the Moon

As far as space goes, the Moon is sexy again. Within the past three months:

  • the Chinese landed a rover on the Moon’s far side
  • NASA announced it is partnering with nine companies to deliver payloads to the Moon, consistent with its new push for more Moon missions
  • the Moon Race competition has been announced, looking at entries in four themes: manufacturing, energy, resources, biology
  • the European Space Agency (ESA) announced its interest in mining the Moon for water
  • a US collaborative study was released about commercial exploitation of water from the Moon.

Not to be outdone, there is an Australian angle. We at the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research (ACSER) announced our Wilde mission to extract water from the shaded craters at the Moon’s poles.

Australian interests

The Australian angle is important. With the establishment of Australia’s Space Agency, there is a need for us to try to establish niches in space, and it makes sense to exploit our strengths in mining to do so.

This is........

© Asian Correspondent