Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – NASA has announced a plan to send Americans back to the Moon in 10 years and to Mars by the 2030s. But the biggest news in NASA’s “National Space Exploration Campaign” plan is the revelation that the United States will go full bore to commercialize space, or launching businesses in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) as NASA calls it.
Two of the five strategic goals defined in the 21-page plan all have to do with commercializing space. This admission will bring the U.S. into direct competition with Luxembourg, which has grand ambitions of becoming the world leader in commercializing space, especially the multi-trillion dollar asteroid mining industry.
The money-making part of NASA’s Exploration Campaign has to do with:
* Laying the groundwork for business and commercial operations in space that support the needs of an emerging private sector market, as well as NASA. Space mining or asteroid mining will be the gold mine U.S. entrepreneurs will set their sights on.
* Fostering scientific discovery and exploration of lunar resources through a series of robotic missions. Lunar mining of valuable commodities such as Helium-3 (the most important commodity on the Moon) and water-ice will be the prize.
Commercializing space will mean NASA will have to expand public-private partnerships to develop and demonstrate technologies and capabilities that will lead to new commercial space products and services, especially those capable of asteroid mining.
The International Space Station (ISS) can help enable the transition to commercial activities in LEO. NASA recently awarded 12 contracts to business firms to investigate the best way space stations can be used in space business ventures and to take a lead role in LEO businesses.
The other three goals of NASA’s Exploration Campaign are:
* Returning U.S. astronauts to the Moon for a sustained campaign of exploration and use. NASA also intends to build Moon bases as waypoints for voyages to Mars.
* Demonstrating the capabilities required for human missions to Mars and other destinations such as the Jovian and Neptunian moons.
* Leading the emplacement of capabilities that support lunar surface operations and facilitate missions beyond cislunar space (or the space between the Moon and the Earth).
Article – All Rights Reserved.
Provided by FeedSyndicate