Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Will We Mine The Moon For Ice?

Scientists estimate that 1.8 billion tons of water ice exist at the lunar poles; will humanity mine that water for fuel?

In this month's issue of Physics World, science writer Richard Corfield explains how private firms and space agencies are dreaming of tapping into these lucrative resources and turning the moon's grey, barren landscape into a money-making conveyer belt.

Since NASA disbanded its manned Apollo missions to the moon over 40 years ago, unmanned spaceflight has made giant strides and has identified a bountiful supply of water ice at the north and south poles of the moon.

"It is this, more than anything else," Cornfield writes, "that has kindled interest in mining the moon, for where there is ice, there is fuel."

Texas-based Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) plans to mine the vast reserves of water ice and convert it into rocket propellant in the form of hydrogen and oxygen, which would then be sold to space partners in low Earth orbit.

As the company's chief executive officer, Dale Tietz, explains, the plan is to build a "gas station in space" in which rocket propellant will be sold at prices significantly lower than the cost of sending fuel from Earth.

The possibility of ice in the floors of polar lunar craters was first suggested by scientists in 1961 by Caltech researchers Kenneth Watson, Bruce C. Murray, and Harrison Brown.

Science fiction fans had a realistic picture of lunar ice mining from Robert Heinlein in his 1966 novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress:

One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. "I'm an ice miner," he said. "Learned by trade doing time for Warden like most of you. I've been on my own thirty years and done okay... I should say did do okay... because today you have to listen farther out or deeper down to find ice. "That's okay, still ice in The Rock and a miner expects to sound for it..."
(Read more about fictional lunar ice mining)

Via PhysOrg; thanks to Winchell Chung @nyrath from Project Rho for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/30/2015)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.' - Pournelle and Niven, 1981.

Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
'Jimmy Cardigan and Harlowe, staring through the darkside port, had their feet in the foot-loops...' - Murray Leinster, 1931.

Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
'But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.' - Jack Williamson, 1939.

Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry
'A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-MíLou in and out of the atmosphere...' - Robert Heinlein, 1958.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
'Jimmy Cardigan and Harlowe, staring through the darkside port, had their feet in the foot-loops...'

Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
'But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry
'A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-MíLou in and out of the atmosphere...'

MarsCat and MetaCat, Your Robot Cat Companions
'It was you who betrayed me ó you and your robot cat.'

Mars Mission Using Nuclear Thermal Propulsion
'with its atomic engine as noiseless as a dancing sunbeam...'

Physiotherapists Get Help From Robots
'Most of the Members went into cold-rest; the others tended them...'

Robotaxi By Cruise Premieres in Austin, Texas
'... he settled back in a robotaxi and the brilliant lights of the streets flashed past.'

Tentacle Robot Gripper Recalls War Of The Worlds
'It presented a sort of metallic spider with five jointed, agile legs, and with an extraordinary number of jointed levers, bars, and reaching and clutching tentacles.'

The Coming Hell Of ChatGPT Salesbots
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing, pleading, shrilling...'

Harmonia Making Generative Audio Tools For Everyone
'A cacophony of stentorious metal sounds.'

Fusion Power Breakthrough?
'The prospect of enough D-N beryllium to make fusion power really cheap...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.