China’s Chang’e-6 robot lands on Moon’s far side – by Georgina Rannard and Laura Bicker (BBC.com – June 2, 2024)

https://www.bbc.com/

China says its uncrewed craft has successfully landed on the far side of the Moon – an unexplored place almost no-one tries to go. The Chang’e-6 touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin at 06:23 Beijing time on Sunday morning (22:23 GMT Saturday), the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said.

Launched on 3 May, the mission aims to collect precious rock and soil from this region for the first time in history. The probe could extract some of the Moon’s oldest rocks from a huge crater on its South Pole.

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This company intends to be the first to mine the moon – by Christian Davenport (MSM.com/Washington Post – March 2024)

https://www.msn.com/

Nearly a decade ago, Congress passed a law that allows private American space companies the rights to resources they mine on celestial bodies, including the moon. Now, there’s a private venture that says it intends to do just that.

Founded by a pair of former executives from Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Jeff Bezos, and an Apollo astronaut, the company, Interlune, announced itself publicly Wednesday by saying it has raised $18 million and is developing the technology to harvest and bring materials back from the moon. (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

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Asteroid mining startup to launch mission in early 2024 – by Staff (Northern Miner – October 19, 2023)

https://www.northernminer.com/

AstroForge, a U.S.-based startup with plans to mine asteroids, is fine-tuning details for the launch of a spacecraft in the first quarter of next year, which would make it the first private company to visit an M-type asteroid and operate in deep space.

The Brokkr-2 spacecraft will travel on board Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket, which will carry a drill to explore the Moon’s surface, as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

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NASA’s Journey to a Metal-Rich Asteroid Blasts Off – by Aylin Woodward (Wall Street Journal – October 13, 2023)

https://www.wsj.com/

Mission to Psyche will give insights into possible mining on distant worlds, origin of Earth’s core

An unprecedented mission to a metal-rich asteroid launched on Friday—paving the way for companies to, one day, mine similar celestial bodies for ore. “We’re prospecting,” said Jim Bell, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University. “We’re going to look at an example of the kind of object we probably will mine decades to centuries from now.”

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Psyche spacecraft is expected to reach its mission target, an asteroid of the same name, in about six years. Psyche caused a stir in 2017 when the mission’s principal investigator, Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University, calculated the asteroid would be worth $10,000 quadrillion if it were to be brought back to Earth and sold on the metals market.

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Chandrayaan-3: India makes historic landing near Moon’s south pole (British Broadcasting Corporation – August 23, 2023)

https://www.bbc.com/

India has made history as its Moon mission becomes the first to land in the lunar south pole region.

With this, India joins an elite club of countries to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the US, the former Soviet Union and China. The Vikram lander from Chandrayaan-3 successfully touched down as planned at 18:04 local time (12:34 GMT).

Celebrations have broken out across the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying “India is now on the Moon”. “We have reached where no other country could. It’s a joyous occasion,” he added. Mr Modi was watching the event live from South Africa where he is attending the Brics summit.

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Explainer: Moon mining – Why major powers are eyeing a lunar gold rush? – by Guy Faulconbridge (Reuters – August 11, 2023)

https://www.reuters.com/

MOSCOW, Aug 11 (Reuters) – Russia launched its first moon-landing spacecraft in 47 years on Friday amid a race by major powers including the United States, China and India to discover more about the elements held on the earth’s only natural satellite.

Russia said that it would launch further lunar missions and then explore the possibility of a joint Russian-China crewed mission and even a lunar base. NASA has spoken about a “lunar gold rush” and explored the potential of moon mining.

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Canada’s mining sector brainstorms lunar resource extraction (Equipment Journal – June 5, 2023)

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The unique skill sets of Canada’s mining industry may someday help propel space exploration beyond the Earth’s moon. Recently, the Sudbury, Ontario-based Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) hosted a webinar to explain the opportunity and challenges in extracting resources on the moon.

“Mining and mineral resource exploration and taking advantage of resources on the moon is going to happen for sure in the very short term,” said Chamirai Nyabeze, Vice President of Business Development and Commercialization at CEMI.

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Asteroid mining startup AstroForge readies first mission – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – April 13, 2023)

https://www.mining.com/

AstroForge, a startup with plans to mine asteroids, is getting ready to launch the first of its two missions on Friday, of which the main objective is to test the firm’s technique for refining platinum from a sample of asteroid-like material.

The startup has placed a payload on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, pre-packed with elements similar to those found in asteroids. Working in Earth’s orbit, the OrbAstro-built cubesat will attempt to vaporize and sort the materials into their elemental components.

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Sudbury researchers begin to tackle mining on the moon – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – April 4, 2023)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation gauging level of interest from miners and bankers in lunar investment

A mining area formed by an impact from space could now have an impact on how resources are extracted in space. Scientists seem a bit divided on whether it was a comet or meteorite that accounts for the Sudbury basin, but folks at the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation are pretty confident that local companies can contribute expertise and eventually investment capital to the harvesting of materials on the moon and other balls of extraterrestrial rock.

The centre, headquartered on Maley Drive, recently distributed a survey among the “mining investment ecosystem” — a field that ranges from prospectors and exploration outfits to banks and major miners — to gauge their level of interest in lunar investment.

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ARE WE FINALLY ON THE CUSP OF COMMERCIAL ASTEROID MINING? – by Jamie Carter (Sky and Telescope – February 27, 2023)

https://skyandtelescope.org/

Asteroid mining is back in the news. In January, California-based startup AstroForge announced that in 2023 it will lay the foundations to become the first commercial company to mine an asteroid and bring the materials back to Earth. Two missions launching in April and October 2023, both on SpaceX rockets, will test technology and survey a target asteroid.

It’s an exciting proposition, but haven’t we heard all of this before? Over the years, similarly ambitious companies have claimed to be on the cusp of the impossible, among them Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, neither of whom could ultimately finance their plans. What makes AstroForge different?

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Scientists want to produce cosmic mineral to replace REEs in industrial magnets – by Staff (Mining.com – October 23, 2022)

https://www.mining.com/

Engineers at Northeastern University have patented a process to accelerate the production of a mineral known as tetrataenite, whose magnetic properties make it a leading candidate to replace magnets made of rare earths.

Tetrataenite is not found in nature—at least, not on earth. It is only found in meteorites. This means that making the cosmic mineral requires manipulating the atomic structures of its iron and nickel components by arranging them into a crystal structure that resembles tetrataenite, thus speeding up a natural process that would take millions of years on our planet.

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Martian moon could be crucial for asteroid mining – by Staff (Mining.com – June 21, 2022)

https://www.mining.com/

Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have shown that mining the Main Belt of asteroids that orbit between Mars and Jupiter could be done profitably if spacecraft were deployed from a station in an orbit similar to that of the Martian moon Phobos.

In a paper published in the journal Planetary and Space Science, astronomers Martin Elvis, Jonathan McDowell, and past Harvard undergraduate Anthony Taylor, explain that even though space mining will likely start with near-earth objects (NEOs) or asteroids whose paths cross the earth’s orbital path, it will eventually start looking at the Main Belt of asteroids, as it contains about 10,000 times more resources than NEOs.

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Sudbury: Laurentian Lunars named finalists in Over the Dusty Moon challenge (CBC News Sudbury – February 14, 2022)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Team hopes to present idea at Colorado School of Mines later this year

A group of Laurentian University students in Sudbury, Ont., are finalists in a competition organized by the Colorado School of Mines. The Over the Dusty Moon challenge involved teams to design and build a “regolith transport solution for the moon.” In other words, they want students to find a way to move moon rocks.

“Lunar regolith is an important feedstock for construction, mineral processing and other ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) activities,” the university stated.

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Scientists working on autonomous swarms of robots to mine the Moon – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – September 13, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

Plans to start mining the Moon as early as 2025 have received a boost, with NASA granting a research team from the University of Arizona $500,000 to develop a swarm of robots able to mine, excavate and even build simple structures on the surface of our world’s natural satellite.

The robots, to be constructed and trained on Earth, will at first receive instructions from operators on this planet, but the goal is to make them fully autonomous, the university said.

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It’s been 50 years since NASA’s Apollo 16 astronauts walked on Sudbury – by Colleen Romaniuk (Sudbury Star – July 9, 2021)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

They were here to train for their moon mission

This summer marks 50 years since NASA dispatched the Apollo 16 astronauts to Sudbury for field training ahead of their trip to the moon. Commander John Young and pilot Charles Duke, whose spacecraft would launch from Cape Canaveral less than a year later on April 16, 1972, teamed up with experts from Inco to study Sudbury’s impact crater and its unique geological structures.

NASA hoped that the field training, which took place from July 7 to 9, 1971, would prepare the astronauts for lunar surface experiments. It turns out, the excursion didn’t prepare them as much as they’d hoped.

“We were very interested, at the time, in trying to work up the geology of the moon. The great debate in the literature prior to our first moon landing was how much of the moon was formed by volcanic activity and how much of it was formed by impact structures,” said Michael Dence.

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