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Plans for a European base on the moon have taken a major step forward.
The European Space Agency revealed it has signed up rocket maker ArianeGroup to develop plans for a moon base that could be used to mine material from the lunar surface.
The project will 'examine the possibility of going to the Moon before 2025 and starting to work there' - and could trigger a new space race as countries rush to harness lunar resources.
The one-year contract aims to eventually mine regolith on the lunar surface.
'As ESA and other agencies prepare to send humans back to the Moon – this time to stay – technologies that make use of materials available in space (in-situ resource utilisation) are seen as key to sustainability, and a stepping stone in humankind's adventure to Mars and farther into the Solar System,' the space agency said.
'In the longer term, resources in space may even be used on Earth.'
'Regolith is an ore from which it is possible to extract water and oxygen, thus enabling an independent human presence on the Moon to be envisaged, capable of producing the fuel needed for more distant exploratory missions, ESA says.
The Moon Agreement was considered and elaborated by the Legal Subcommittee from 1972 to 1979. The Agreement was adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 in resolution 34/68. It was not until June 1984, however, that the fifth country, Austria, ratified the Agreement, allowing it to enter into force in July 1984. The Agreement reaffirms and elaborates on many of the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty as applied to the Moon and other celestial bodies, providing that those bodies should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, that their environments should not be disrupted, that the United Nations should be informed of the location and purpose of any station established on those bodies. In addition, the Agreement provides that the Moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind and that an international regime should be established to govern the exploitation of such resources when such exploitation is about to become feasible.
originally posted by: LookingAtMars
Maybe Augustus would volunteer. I am sure a master mason like him could figure it out.