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NASA Moon Space Science

Energy Firm Wants To Be First To Mine the Moon 251

coondoggie writes "By 2020, the Shackleton Energy Company says it intends to be operating the world's first lunar base and propellant depot for all manner of spacecraft. Shackleton stated that after a phase of robotic prospecting, its crews will establish the infrastructure in space and basecamps in the lunar polar crater regions to supervise industrial machinery for mining, processing and transporting lunar products to market in Low Earth Orbit and beyond. The company said it will use a mix of industrial astronauts and advanced robotic systems to provide a strategically-assured, continuous supply of propellants for spacecraft."
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Energy Firm Wants To Be First To Mine the Moon

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  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @02:17PM (#38088450) Homepage Journal
    2020? These guys are either nuts or lying, maybe both. If they're not just total crackpots, then this is probably just trolling for VC dollars like that stupid flying car thing.
  • Ridiculous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @02:18PM (#38088470)
    I would be amazed if a private company managed, by 2020, so much as to land a man on the Moon, let alone build a permanent base there. But no, I'm too skeptical. No one would ever exaggerate the feasibility of such a venture just to bilk money from credulous investors. Especially not a much of middle-aged former NASA engineers who just got laid off due to the end of the shuttle program.
  • Who owns the moon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ugen ( 93902 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @02:19PM (#38088476)

    So who owns the moon? I mean - will they have mineral rights licensed from someone? And is there an agreement as to who that might be? Sounds like a casus belli brewing.

  • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @02:31PM (#38088626) Homepage Journal
    One minor hurdle will be designing and building a launch system capable of putting enough mass on the moon to actually start mining. The though that it could be done in 8 years is frankly laughable, even if these guys did have money and a workable plan.

    If they were maybe shooting for 2120 I could take them slightly more seriously. Even the Apollo program needed 9 years, and they were just putting a couple of guys on the moon for a brief landing. They weren't trying to build infrastructure.

    The economics don't even make sense. Who are they going to sell it to? Themselves? There aren't any plans for manned missions beyond earth orbit (G. W. Bush's Mars fantasies not withstanding) so there isn't even a customer for this. It's total lunacy (pun intended).
  • by Un pobre guey ( 593801 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:11PM (#38092258) Homepage
    Again with the moronic Columbus meme. If Columbus was like NASA he would have sailed around in circles about a mile and a half from port (the equivalent of LEO), for the rest of his life because there was not enough money in the world to send three ships full of crew and supplies to occupy another continent (the moon, Mars, whatever). It is a stupid analogy. Columbus took ships of the sort that already existed by the hundred, with trained crew available by the thousand, using techniques that had been used and refined over thousands of years, on a journey that required no artificial atmosphere, no fuel, and no shielding from radiation, just to mention a few of the colossal costs he did not have to face. Going into space is a whole different ballgame. The "nay sayers" you mention are probably those who correctly point out that your childish fantasies about space exploration are little more than sci fi space adventure magical religious cultism. Manned space missions restrict space exploration, they don't promote it.

    Lest you have the standard knee-jerk reaction and whine about me being a Luddite or anti-space exploration, here is my take [slashdot.org].

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI