A White Paper from the Luxembourg Space Agency, announced on 27 March 2020, focuses on opportunities for collaboration between terrestrial and space mining sectors
On 9 October 2019, the second Mining Space Summit gathered more than 180 experts, from 24 countries, working in fields as diverse as oil & gas, terrestrial mining, space, finance, and government.
Held in Luxembourg, the goal of the Summit was to understand the technical and economic challenges facing the space resources industry and make recommendations for the future growth of this high technology sector.
The White Paper – available on the LSA website – provides a compact summary of current thinking on a sector which will be central to our future expansion into the solar system.
Following a morning of presentations which included an update on the Luxembourg SpaceResources.lu initiative, an outline of the ESA Space Resources Strategy and an introduction to some commercial ventures in this domain, delegates split up to discuss the industry in six sessions, split equally between economic and technical questions.
The experts agreed that collaboration between terrestrial mining and commercial space will be crucial to the development technology and mission capabilities needed for a viable space resources industry.
Suggestions which might help jump start the collaboration process included a global competition based on the Google Lunar XPRIZE model and the development of ‘dual use’ Earth/space technologies.
Demand for space resources could potentially be driven by offworld outposts, space laboratories, Moon-based facilities and space tourism.
However, early development will require support from governments around the world, with sound legal agreements on ownership of resources and stable markets to sell them.
Governments and their agencies will also play a central role as the primary source of demand for this fledgling market.