Thanks to Mr. S.D. for sharing this one, for this is another confirmation that space has been collateralized, perhaps from an early period; the reason for my assertion? The European Space Agency has now publicly jumped on the Moon mining meme, and, if you'll read closely, another one as well:
There are a number of statements that leaped off the page when I read them, and I hope they did you as well:
"There are already companies working on how 3D printing could help build infrastructure on the moon, as well as missions which are beginning to map its surface ahead of bids to drill for its resources.
"'We do not have decades to come up with answers to these important questions about exploring the moon," he said. "A fleet of international missions has already started to prospect and map the distribution of mineral resources, and water-ice.'
"Precursor landers can be operated in a coordinated robotic village, with in-situ use of resources, done with respect. This would prepare a sustainable and smart path towards humans living off the land in international lunar bases," he said.
"The moon is like the 8th continent of earth - it is only reasonable we want to mine it," he added, pointing out that this refers not only to minerals but mining for knowledge about earth's past as well as inspiring scientific leaps forward.
The possibility of mining the moon for resources, whether to use them on the moon itself or bring them back to earth, is not new. Scientists believe the rock could hold oxygen, hydrogen, iron and rare metals, as well as possibly helium 3, a resource which is rare on earth but which could be more common on the moon.
They believe it could be used to energise nuclear fusion reactions and provide vast amounts of energy in a process which avoids the radioactive waste of nuclear fission, the process used in nuclear power on earth currently.
While I've blogged previously about the prospects of 3-d printing for space exploration and infrastructure construction, what interests us here is that Europe is (1) sounding the meme of lunar mining, in concert with America and various corporations, but (2) cautioning that we need to examine the whole issue of privatization and corporatization of the Moon.
Now, in this context, note the curiously worded statement about "mining for knowledge about earth's past as well as inspiring scientific leaps forward." On first reading, this would simply appear to be the usual "scientific spectacle" that often accompanies such articles, and the clear implication is that the human exploration of the Moon might and probably would yield fascinating scientific information about the geological history of planets.
However, the peculiar wording of the statement implies another possibility: what if that "knowledge about the earth's past" and "inspiring scientific leaps forward" has nothing to do with geological discoveries at all? What if, rather, it be taken to mean the confirmation of artificial structures on the Moon, which have been suggested by any number of strange photographs from the age of the early Moon probes to the Apollo missions themselves? And what if, in turn, these confirmations would lead or fuel great "inspiring scientific leaps forward"? In other words, it strikes me as strange that the statement is carefully worded, so as to allow either interpretive possibility.
In that context then, the references to space privatization and corporatization, versus internationalization, have a peculiar point in common, for if such confirmations were discovered, either by a corporation or an international body, in either case the veil of secrecy would descend, for in the one instance it would be a proprietary secret and in the other subject to the vicissitudes of terrestrial geopolitics and any international agency overseeing such colonization. Chances are that such an agency would have a UN-like security council provision allowing participating nations a "veto" over any public disclosures of such discoveries.
And we can all guess at who might exercise that veto power first...
See you on the flip side...