We propose that current in-situ resource utilization schemes based on mining of water resources on the Moon is unnecessary and unsustainable. Life support systems are capable of recycling with high efficiency. Burning of hydrogen propellant and oxygen is akin to the burning of fossil fuels. The value of in-situ resources will be in exploiting the resources that are abundant, husbanding of resources that are not and recycling as much as possible to minimise waste. We propose that a closed loop industrial ecology must be implemented with extensive recycling loops as a sustainable approach to in-situ resource utilization on the Moon. We must build in sustainability into our forays from Earth in order not to continue to make the same mistakes as we have on Earth.

, , ,
Planetary and Space Science
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Ellery, A. (2020). Sustainable in-situ resource utilization on the moon. Planetary and Space Science, 184. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2020.104870