It has recently emerged that the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is working on a plan to extract energy from the moon that will help India to cut down on its oil imports. The plan involves mining Helium-3 rich lunar dust, generating energy from it and sending it back to the Earth.
The plans were first revealed in February by Dr Sivathanu Pillai, a professor at the space agency. He had then told a conference in New Delhi that the lunar dust mining programme is a priority for Isro, Livemint reported.
President Donald Trump-led administration in the US was also keen on extracting energy from the Moon. He had reportedly asked Nasa about mining the natural resources on the Moon for profit, to which, the space agency responded saying that they have already begun handing over low-Earth orbit explorations and tours to companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin.
With the advancement in space technology in many countries across the world, there has been a surge in activities aimed at exploring the outer space and the natural resources of extra-terrestrial bodies, especially the Moon, given its close proximity to the Earth.
Here is a look at the some interesting activities that space agencies (state-funded and private) aspire to do on Moon in the near future:
- Aircraft company Boeing and Nasa have plans to develop a deep space habitat on the Moon. They released concept images earlier in April of a proposed docking station and a deep space transport vehicle that could send humans to Mars from a lunar base one day.
- A private company in Texas, called Shackleton Energy Company (SEC), was reported in 2015 to be planning to set up a "gas station in space" by mining on the moon. The plan involved mining reserves of water ice from the moon, convert them into rocket propellant in the form of hydrogen and oxygen, and sell the fuel to space partners in low Earth orbit. However, there is not enough information on the project's progress.
- Nasa has been working on plans to build homes on the Moon. The most recent media reports suggested that the American space agency is still drawing up the architecture of the proposed habitat.
- Private space exploration firm SpaceX is reportedly all set to fly two people to the Moon in 2018. The aspiration has been building on since many years now, with several private space exploration agencies claiming to be working on adventure vacations to the Moon.