The European Space Agency is planning on mining for water and oxygen on the moon, and it wants to be doing so by 2025.
The human race is quite literally discovering more and more about space by the day. Only recently, the first man-made objects to ever leave the solar system made it to interstellar space. As exciting as that is, we are also making new discoveries about entities much closer to us.
When we say much closer, we are referring to the planets within our very own solar system. There are even some exciting projects going on with the moon right now, somewhere we first set foot 50 years ago. Just last month the Chinese Space Program grew a plant on the far side of the moon for the first time ever. Granted, it died just hours after it sprouted, but it was exciting nonetheless.
China isn't the only country with big plans for what we might be able to do with the moon. CNN reports that the European Space Agency plans on mining the natural satellite by 2025. Not for rocks or minerals or anything like that, but for oxygen and water. The question that immediately springs to mind is why? We have plenty of that down here on Earth. Let us explain.
A lack of oxygen and water on the moon seriously limits the number of time humans can stay there. The ESA's plan is to mine regolith, the dust that covers the moon's surface. Water and oxygen can potentially be extracted from it. If successful, humans who travel to the moon in the future will be able to stay there for much longer periods of time. It could also allow for rocket fuel to be produced on the moon, thus allowing us to venture even further into space.
When it comes to space exploration, the cliche the sky is the limit is no longer apropos. With the projects currently going on around the world, it would seem that the limit well and truly lies beyond our own blue sky. The ESA wants to be mining the moon for water and oxygen by 2025. Soon after that, we may well see people spending extended periods of time away from the Earth's surface.