The Pentagon has now introduced the LunA-10 program. Through this project, DARPA – the government agency responsible for new military technologies – is looking for the best way to develop the economy on the moon. With the return of man to our satellite a virtual certainty (with the Artemis project), DARPA is already thinking about the peace and tranquility of a human presence on the moon.
Because the current competition for the Moon is not the same as for Apollo. In the 1960s the purpose of the US and the Soviets was to “simply” go back and forth in a contest of who had the biggest (rocket). It is not enough to go to the moon today. As large farms managed to conquer a new world in the 16th century, the idea was to settle on the surface of our satellite and colonize it.
LunA-10: The Moon is a New Wild West
With the LunA-10 project, DARPA and NASA will select a group of companies capable of creating profitable industries on the Moon. Initially, government agencies prefer to focus on some key areas such as communication, energy or exchange and sustainability of human existence.
In a press release from DARPA published this week, the agency announced that companies selected for the LunA-10 program will be announced next October. A detailed final report will be submitted in June 2024, a few months before Artemis 2’s mission to carry humans around the moon begins.
Low cost plan
DARPA may be ambitious, but it is also frugal. The company has already announced that it will not finance developing or transporting technologies to the moon. Instead, she promises to bring her back “Economic Expertise”. She will help “Analyze and verify the contours of a critical mass to create a prosperous and survivable lunar economy.”
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced in an earlier report that more than 400 missions to the moon will be launched in the next 10 years. According to the ESA, more than half of them are of private origin. Companies like SpaceX or Blue Origin are likely to play leading roles in this man’s return to the moon.
Despite this position of strength, DARPA wants to enforce the Outer Space Treaty signed in 1967, which makes it impossible to set aside land for private purposes in space. Companies that want to make a profit on the moon cannot become the owners of a rock, and will always be under the yoke of the sovereign earth. At least that’s what various space deals offer. It remains to be seen whether the laws will be respected in the coming years, when only private companies will dominate.
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