America has had a long fascination with the Moon since NASA sent a crew of astronauts to traverse it back in 1969. Decades later in 2020, it seems like Uncle Sam will be revisiting the neighbouring astronomical body after US President – Donald Trump signed an executive order to mine the moon.
President Trump intends to excavate the moon and other surrounding asteroids for resources. The White House released an official article explaining the order in detail and states that the USA does not see space as a “global commons” (global resource domain) and points out that America did not sign the 1979 Moon Treaty – which dictates that activities in space should be subject to international law.
Furthermore, the US Congress passed a law back in 2015 which allows American companies to use resources obtained from the Moon and other asteroids according to the Guardian. This along with the new executive order will work hand-in-hand to aid NASA’s Artemis programme which aims to land two astronauts on the Moon by 2024 in hopes of establishing human presence on and around it.
In regards to how the Moon will be mined, Forbes states that NASA’s Artemis programme will use Roomba-sized rovers to extract necessary materials across the moon’s surface. Even with the aforementioned plans to revisit the Moon in 2024, only time will tell when the order will truly be put to use.
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