Japan Is Going to Mine the Moon

DATE: 20/12/2016

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced Friday that it will begin working with a private lunar robotics exploration company to mine for resources on the moon. The Tokyo-based ispace Inc. should help facilitate Japan’s (somewhat late) entry into the rapidly growing and potentially lucrative field of space mining.

Space mining sounds like a fun but made-up occupation set in the dystopian future, sort of like space archaeologist (real) or space cowboy (less real). But this is far from so — space mining is quickly becoming a ring into which multiple nations and space entities are tossing their respective hats. Luxembourg, for instance, has a head start on Japan here, and the United States already introduced “finders-keepers” legislation for resources recovered from space mining more than a year ago.

Space-resource development is garnering attention around the world now,” ispace CEO Takeshi Hakamada told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s very important that we work to commercialize and create rules while we still have a technological advantage globally.”

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