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    Lunar resources: a review

    Crawford, Ian (2015) Lunar resources: a review. Progress in Physical Geography 39 (2), pp. 137-167. ISSN 0309-1333.

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    Abstract

    There is growing interest in the possibility that the resource base of the Solar System might in future be used to supplement the economic resources of our own planet. As the Earth’s closest celestial neighbour, the Moon is sure to feature prominently in these developments. In this paper I review what is currently known about economically exploitable resources on the Moon, while also stressing the need for continued lunar exploration. I find that, although it is difficult to identify any single lunar resource that will be sufficiently valuable to drive a lunar resource extraction industry on its own (notwithstanding claims sometimes made for the 3He isotope, which are found to be exaggerated), the Moon nevertheless does possess abundant raw materials that are of potential economic interest. These are relevant to a hierarchy of future applications, beginning with the use of lunar materials to facilitate human activities on the Moon itself, and progressing to the use of lunar resources to underpin a future industrial capability within the Earth-Moon system. In this way, gradually increasing access to lunar resources may help ‘bootstrap’ a space-based economy from which the world economy, and possibly also the world’s environment, will ultimately benefit.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Moon, lunar resources, space economy, space exploration
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2015 12:12
    Last Modified: 08 Jun 2016 10:32
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/11609

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