Sunday, October 16, 2011

NASA: Moon Rich in Titanium. Mine it!

NASA has discovered that the moon contains vast sources of Titanium. Why is that important?

According to Wikipedia:

"Titanium can be alloyed with iron, aluminium, vanadium, molybdenum, among other elements, to produce strong lightweight alloys for aerospace (jet engines, missiles, and spacecraft), military, industrial process (chemicals and petro-chemicals, desalination plants, pulp, and paper), automotive, agri-food, medical prostheses, orthopedic implants, dental and endodontic instruments and files, dental implants, sporting goods, jewelry, mobile phones, and other applications.[2]

The two most useful properties of the metal form are corrosion resistance and the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal.[5] In its unalloyed condition, titanium is as strong as some steels, but 45% lighter."

Wow. And there is a lot more of it on the Moon than here on Earth.

They also discovered that "Lunar titanium is mostly found in the mineral ilmenite, a compound containing iron, titanium and oxygen. Future miners living and working on the Moon could break down ilmenite to liberate these elements. In addition, Apollo data shows that titanium-rich minerals are more efficient at retaining particles from the solar wind, such as helium and hydrogen. These gases would also provide a vital resource for future human inhabitants of lunar colonies."

In other words, a return to the Moon would be more than just a tourist excursion. The moon could be mined for a rare mineral that is vital for high-tech manufacturing here on Earth - and its soil contains oxygen that would enable a lunar colony to be self-sustaining.

America should rethink its space policy by making a return to the Moon for purposes of mining its resources a priority. It would have more value than landing astronauts on an Asteroid.  The technology gained from the effort would fuel the next generation of 21st Century jobs, just as our past space efforts have given us computers, weather forecasting, remote sensing, GPS systems, satellite television, Velcro and many other new products.

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