JUL 20, 2017 08:50 AM PDT
How Moon Express Plans to Mine the Moon
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You've probably heard the concept of mining space rocks, but many of them are far away and inconvenient to visit. Perhaps the closest space rock we have is our own Moon, and some companies are already considering ways that we can exploit its resources.

At the end of 2017, a private company dubbed Moon Express will try to send a lander to the Lunar surface, winning the Google Lunar X-Prize in the process. The company will then follow up with two other landers in the future.

The second lander would go to the Moon's South pole to look for traces of valuable resources, such as water, iron, and precious metals. After we establish whether any of these things exist there, a third lander will go to the Moon to collect these samples and bring them back to Earth by 2020.

It's an ambitious project that, if successful, could spur more frequent lunar visits by mining spacecraft. Since the Moon doesn't belong to any one person, company, or nation, whatever's there is up for grabs by anyone who can get there first.

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