Donald Trump, the US president, according to internal communication between his transition team and NASA, appears to have considered the money-making potential of mining the moon.
Since taking office, Mr Trump is trying to cut the budget of a large number of environmental agencies except for NASA, and even signed a recent bill to continue funding much of the space agency.
Everybody expects that to be the reason cause the administration seems to be very interested in NASA’s money-making potential.
The world leading space agency also sprouted its commercial aspirations.
“NASA envisions a future in which low Earth orbit is largely the domain of commercial activity,” the agency wrote.
With some of the Earth’s most valuable resources dwindling, for the bold prospectors, space mining is looming large as the next frontier.
Asteroids and the moon promise a rich source of precious metals such as gold and platinum and diamonds. Additionally, space mining offers plentiful of ‘’rare earth minerals’’ used in smartphones, tablets, flat-screen TVs, pharmaceuticals, wind turbines and a range of other technological and military applications.
Let’s not forget the 2015 controversial bill signed by US president then Barack Obama which gave US companies legal ownership of materials they extract from asteroids, causing some to predict a galactic gold rush will soon take place.
The best example of this new era coming is the US company called Planetary Resources, backed by Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, as well as Virgin founder Richard Branson which has already launched its first satellite from the International Space Station to test its asteroid prospecting technology.
Specifically, the White house is interested in the process NASA goes through to make commercial products with industry and the agency’s plan to survey the moon for useful raw materials and evaluate the potential for extraction.
In response NASA replied: “As … research and technology efforts mature, appropriate technologies are transferred to industry and commercialized through multiple programs and approaches to benefit a wide range of users ensuring the nation realizes the full economic value and societal benefit of these innovations.”