Mining the Moon

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Abstract

The main product of future lunar mining is likely to be oxygen, the Moon being extremely depleted in volatile materials and unlikely to contain recoverable concentrations of any but the most common elements. Oxygen is abundant in lunar rocks and could be produced at a profit for a captive market requiring it for respiration and transportation. The exploration of lunar minerals and mining methods would probably be highly mechanized and extracted by surface mining with power from solar energy. Processing involving reagents, such as sodium fluoride or hydrogen reactions, and by utilizing the lunar vacuum, are speculated on. Manufacturing should concentrate on ceramics rather than metals, as the former require less processing. -J.W.Cooper

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-579
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Scientist
Volume77
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

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Cite this

Burt, D. (1989). Mining the Moon. American Scientist, 77(6), 574-579.