Trump administration drafts legal pact for mining the moon

Originally published at:




He just wants to grab it by the dark side. When you’re famous and planted a flag there already, they let you do anything.


I won’t bother to look it up, since I have better things to do than engage with Turmp’s worthless version of reality, but aren’t spacefaring nations already party to a treaty on the exploitation of space that rules out this kind of homesteading?


Well OK I did look it up, to satisfy my curiosity, and apparently the treaty is mostly about military occupation and may be unclear about space mining.


Someone told him there is coal up there.


Maybe I’m mistaken, but isn’t the whole idea completely batshit insane? Do we know enough about the subsurface composition of the Moon to identify valuable deposits? What exactly would we be looking for there that we don’t have here? Because then there’s the cost.

Imagine we found gold on the moon. So, right, we dig it up, ship it back to Earth, thus increasing the availability of gold and depressing its price at the same time the newly acquired gold, which is totally fungible with regular old Earth gold, was acquired at greater expense than any resource in human history, probably greater cost than the value of the gold itself. Now I understand how Trump bankrupted a casino, because in this hypothetical he’s about to bankrupt a literal gold mine.

Okay, so maybe it’s about a military thing instead, but to what possible end? What could soldiers on the Moon do apart from fight over the Moon? Maybe they’re there to protect the idiotically expensive mining operations, thus increasing the cost of whatever comes out of those mines that much more, but otherwise I don’t see the point of stationing troops on an arbitrary patch of the moon just to defend that patch from other nations’ pointlessly-stationed troops.


This sounds a lot like that time when the bad guys flew planes over part of antarctica, dropping little survey markers with swastikas on them, as if to say, “Fritz was here”. Trying to make up for in reach, what they lack in grasp, basically.


Why ship it back? Why not mine for the materials needed to expand a lunar settlement and use them on site? That could reduce the amount of stuff we need to send to the moon, thus saving us money on rocket launches.

Every kilogram of iron (for example) we find on the moon (possibly as meteorites) is a kilogram that stays on Earth. Some quick searching found that it costs around $1000 per kilo to lift something into space right now.

But given Trump’s track record with international agreements, I wonder how many countries will adopt a wait and see attitude (until after November) towards this suggestion.



This is going to be a problem for a long time to come, I fear. Trump has taught the world that the US is willing to back out of, or upend, long-established agreements on a whim. Even with Trump gone, any world leader would be foolish to trust the US again. They will know that for every president who is willing to abide by agreements, there’s someone in the wings who could come along and say “nope.”

The point @gelfin makes is spot-on, though. Using it in place makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.


As much as I would love to see the moon unspoiled. Eventually it is going to happen (barring disaster ) , so there should be rules established. Now I don’t really trust this administration to administrate, well, anything. But pretty much better to start making rules before you need them.


Know what also reduces the amount of stuff we need to send to the Moon? Not building stuff on the Moon. Now it’s sounding like we’re going to have to send troops to the Moon to defend mines on the Moon that we’ll need to get the resources needed to support the troops we stationed on the Moon, and I still don’t feel like my question about whether this is all completely bug fucking nuts has been answered.


Fucking with the mass of the moon will change its orbital characteristics, perhaps affecting tides on Earth.

Somewhere actual scientists are beating their heads into a wall.

1 Like

While it would be expensive to ship stuff from the Moon back to Earth, asteroids are another matter.

And the precedent set for the moon would probably be applied to them.

It’s also unclear about things like private property.

It’s moot right now because nobody is in a position to really exploit resources from space, and probably won’t be for a few decades.

It’s probably a good thing that people are talking about it now. But when someone stakes a claim to an asteroid that’s full of rare-earth elements, things will get interesting.

Giant steps.

1 Like

Mining the moon only makes sense in the context of a lunar colony. The retro-sci fi mission is mining Helium-3 to run your fusion reactors on the moon.

The economics are insane if you’re planning to ship stuff back to the Earth. Even if you found a huge deposit of pure platinum the costs of returning it to Earth are prohibitive. So it only makes sense if you are building things on the moon, like pressure domes for your colonists. That’s pretty far in the future though, especially since its hard to make the case for a permanent lunar colony in the first place.