The Next Gold Rush May Be On The Moon

Science | By Julio Childress | July 5, 2020

Through all the formal research into space exploration in the 20th and 21st centuries, humankind's motives have always been on two tracks. There was the question to gain knowledge for the sake of knowledge, as we sought to fill in blank spaces on a map just to have it full.

And then there were the many other considerations, such as making advances not in such sciences as astronomy or chemistry, but in political science, as the US sought advantage in the Cold War, venturing to the moon for what it would imply to the Soviet Union as much as anything.

Of course, there was also the hope not just to learn, nor to achieve geopolitical supremacy, but rather to just plain make some money. At last, that's not just the purview of Velcro, space pens and Tang, as the US now looks to open up the moon for mineral mining.

Political Developments

The mining of the moon and other celestial bodies for commercial purposes had previously been discouraged by the international consensus formalized in 1979's Moon Treaty, to say nothing of its impracticality given available technology.

But US legislation passed by Congress in 2015 and an executive order in April encouraging the practice and suggesting what it called the Artemis Accords, which would work to place humans and stations on the moon within the next decade and which would also advance those aspirations of mining mineral resources from the moon, asteroids and other planets. That most recent effort in conjunction with the forming of the Space Force could indeed put mining of the moon within reach, leaving just what would be out there to be mined in order to motivate private enterprise as our next big question.

Known Extraterrestrial Deposits

China and India have already talked of getting Helium-3 from the moon, thus alleviating fears of the gas' scarcity on Earth. And there is belief on the part of geologists and various companies working to pioneer space miking that iron, nickel and other precious metals are to be found in asteroids even more readily than they have been on earth. Additionally, satellite reconnaissance conducted by NASA indicates lunar deposits of titanium.

So it's clear there is sufficient evidence of material gain in the stars to interest the ever starry-eyed dreamers in private enterprise in risking capital to increase our access to lucrative gases and metals, and with support from numerous world governments for space mining of some form or another, the one remaining stumbling block will be the practical matter of executing the mining aspirations.

Short Term Feasibility

An entire year ago the world saw the announcement of a five year plan to begin resource extraction from the moon. Meanwhile, NASA has been developing new technology facilitating easier lunar habitation and travel than has been known before, which would certainly do no harm to ambitions of space mining. And there are no end of plans from both governmental and non-governmental sources, fueling hopes that a critical mass of plans will lead some success to break through.

But, it remains to be seen what will turn our more certain announced plans of visiting the moon again and other heavenly bodies for the first time into a trip driven by the profits of mining more so than hopes of same. Until then, the space between “go to moon” and “=profit” remains all too frustratingly blank.

Did You Know...


Not all celebrities have fame and fortune, some are just famous – and in a ton of debt. They came from rags to riches, then went back to rags. Whether they’ve filed bankruptcy, ended up in court, or just can’t stop spending, celebrities mismanage their money just like everyone else. They just hide it well.


50 Cent coined the term “wanksta,” then “partied like it was his birthday” until he filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015. The rapper was said to be anywhere between $10 million and $50 million in debt. In 2016, a federal bankruptcy court judge in Connecticut approved a plan for the founder of G-Unit to pay his debts back. He was able to get his bankruptcy discharged in February of the following year.


Following a 45-year-long career in Hollywood, acting in more than 70 films, actor Gary Busey found himself in more debt than he was worth. In 2012, it was reported that Busey owed between $500,000 and $1 million worth of debt, but only had $50,000 to his name. The 74-year-old actor owed money to hospitals, banks, the L.A. Waterworks District, and even a storage company. He filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy that same year. Despite his longstanding career in Hollywood, Busey's net worth is now only $500,000.


Burt Reynolds is still worth five million dollars, but his battles with debt date back more than 20 years. Between bad investments and a pricey divorce from actress Loni Anderson, the 1970s superstar had to deal with over $10 million in debt and decided to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996. While testifying in a 1994 custody hearing, the South Florida native said he spent $40 million getting through his divorce.


The former Hollywood bad boy, Charlie Sheen owes the IRS nearly $5 million. But that's not all. In 2016, his net worth was reportedly still as high as $150 million, but he was nonetheless $12 million in debt at the time – including mortgages, legal fees, and taxes. That same year, reported Sheen owed nearly $300,000 on an American Express card alone.

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