Russian space agency Roscosmos has condemned the decision of US President Donald Trump order signed this week, which encourages citizens to exploit the moon and other celestial bodies for commercial purposes.
The government agency compared politics to colonialism and said it “hardly puts countries in successful cooperation.”
“There have already been examples in history where a country decided to start seizing territories in its interest – everyone remembers what happened,” said Sergey Saveliev, deputy director general of the Roscosmos international cooperation, said in a statement.
Trump’s order classifies outer space as “a legally and physically unique area of human activity” instead of “global commons,” paving the way for moon mining without any kind of international treaty.
“Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery and use of space resources,” said the document, noting that the United States had never signed a 1979 agreement. known as the Treaty of the Moon. This agreement stipulates that all activity in space must comply with international law.
It is not the first time that the United States has attacked space mining by issuing an order. In 2015, the US Congress passed a bill explicitly authorize businesses and citizens to operate, sell and own any space material.
This legislative text included a very important clause, declaring that it granted “neither sovereignty, nor sovereign or exclusive rights, nor jurisdiction over, nor property of any celestial body”.
The section has ratified the Outer Space Treaty, signed in 1966 by the United States, Russia and a number of other countries, which states that nations cannot own territory in space.
Trump has taken constant interest in asserting American power beyond Earth, train the Space Force within the U.S. Army last year to wage a space war where it was needed.
The country’s space agency, NASA, previously describes his long-term approach to lunar exploration, which includes setting up a “base camp” on the south pole of the moon.
Trillion dollar market
The United States is not the first nor the only country to board the lunar mining train.
Russia has continued its plans in recent years return to the moon, potentially traveling further into space.
Roscosmos revealed in 2018 plans to establish a long-term base on the moon over the next two decades, while President Vladimir Putin has sworn to launch a mission to Mars “very soon”.
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Luxembourg, one of the first countries to set one’s eyes on the possibility of exploiting celestial bodies, created in 2018 a space agency (LSA) to stimulate the exploration and commercial use of NEO resources.
Unlike NASA, the LSA does neither research nor launch. Its objective is to accelerate collaborations between promoters of economic projects in the space sector, investors and other partners.
Thanks to the emerging European network, scientists announced last year plans to start extracting resources from the moon as early as 2025.
The mission, in charge of the European Space Agency in partnership with ArianeGroup, plans to extract nuclear energy without waste, estimated at billions of dollars.
China and India have also come up with ideas for extracting helium-3 from Earth’s natural satellite. Beijing has already landed on the moon twice in the 21st century, with other missions to follow.
In Canada, most initiatives come from the private sector. One of the most lauded partnerships was the Deltion Innovations partnership in northern Ontario with Moon Express, the first private American space exploration company to be granted government permission to travel beyond Earth’s orbit.
Ongoing space projects include plans to operate asteroids, follow the space debris, build the first human settlement in Marsand billionaire Elon Musk’s plan for an unmanned mission to the Red Planet.
Geologists as well as emerging companies, such as Planetary resources based in the United States, a pioneer in the space mining industry, believes that asteroids are teeming with iron ore, nickel and precious metals in concentrations much higher than those found on Earth, constituting a valued market in trillions.
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