Space has sparked our curiosity, inspiring us to create new technologies to explore and help us understand a world beyond Earth. Could mining the moon be the next adventure? In our #DoNowMoon post, we asked students What do you think is the most important scientific or ethical concern to consider about mining the moon? Why? How should private companies that venture into space exploration be regulated?

Moon Express, a company based in Mountain View, California, is competing to win Google’s Lunar X prize, a contest that will award $20 million to the first private venture that can land a robot on the moon, have it travel 500 meters and bring back high-definition video and images of the lunar surface. Yet, Moon Express’ goal is to mine the moon for metals. Additionally, NASA is now offering non-financial support to assist private companies interested in commercial activities along with scientific and academic research on the moon. While the UN created the United Nations Space Treaty of 1967, which established guidelines for nations to abide by for space exploration, many are concerned about the ethics of mining the moon and whether or not the treaty applies to private companies.

For the past two weeks, students discussed the benefits and disadvantages of mining the moon, pointing to the possibility of discovering new information about the moon or how the activity can interfere with tides. The majority of students, however, argued that mining the moon can lead to several problems among nations, the moon and also life on earth.

Too Many Problems

Students discussed a variety of problems that mining can cause on the moon and earth.

Fix Problems on Earth First

Other students argued that we need to focus on the problems on earth before exploring the moon.

It’s Exploitation

Other students wondered if mining would lead to nations taking advantage of the moon’s resources.

It Would Give Us More Information…Let’s Try It!

Some students argued that mining would help us discover more about the universe.

The Moon is Worth More Than Money

Many students pointed to the inherent value of the moon.

What about the Tides?

Many students expressed their concern about how mining would impact the tides.

This Could Lead to War with Other Countries

Several students discussed how mining could encourage countries to fight for territory on the moon.


Laura Robledo

Laura Robledo studied English at UC Berkeley. When she is not reading, looking up new music, or running half marathons, she loves to explore the beautiful city of San Francisco.

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