Upcoming exploration of the Moon is a highlight for space lovers. However, not everything about these upcoming missions has astronomers excited. In fact, some have even warned that the Moon’s resources could be at risk if we don’t control our exploitation of the minerals and other resources found on the lunar surface.
There are several dozens of probes set to survey the lunar surface over the next few years, as well as manned missions to the surface that will see astronauts setting foot on the lunar surface for the first time since Apollo.
While the idea of exploring the Moon is exciting, some astronomers believe that thoughtlessly exploiting the Moon’s resources could cause them to be destroyed, when it doesn’t need to happen that way. The concern here is that an unrestricted rush to the Moon could see businesses and others exploiting the precious minerals and resources found on the Moon.
Further, the thoughtless exploitation of these resources could put other important research at risk, including black hole observations, research into gravitational waves, and even studies to determine the possibility of alien life on distant worlds.
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“The issue has become urgent,” Martin Elvis, who works with the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian, told The Observer. Elvis believes that it is important to take action now, as the choices we make will determine our future actions with regard to the Moon.
Even the concerns about over-exploiting Moon resources is valid. We’ve already abused many precious resources on Earth to a dangerous level. While the Moon will open up new areas of resources, we need to be careful about how we harvest them. We could end up jeopardizing all our plans for the Moon.
NASA and other agencies plan to scour the surface of the Moon using controlled rovers and other machines, which some scientists warn could ruin the sensitivity of proposed radio telescopes designed to teach us more about the universe.
This issue is nuanced and has no simple solution. Still, this warning is very important for NASA and others to take into account, as exploiting the Moon’s resources and ruining possible research opportunities could set out scientific goals back exponentially.
The post Astronomers issue stark warning about exploiting the Moon’s resources appeared first on BGR.