Researchers at the University of Central Florida have created a geological model to offer companies already aiming for the moon to increase their chances of finding gold to fund their projects. The search for gold is related to the existence of frozen water deposits, places where the precious metal would predictably be more present.
In an article published in a scientific journal, the researchers explain the process for ice formation at the moon’s poles and map the terrain, which includes craters that may contain ice deposits. The model also explains what asteroid impacts on the moon’s surface can do to ice deposits meters below the surface.
Inspired by mining
According to the person responsible for the report, the way in which mining companies operate on Earth served as “inspiration for this project.” “Mining companies carry out field mapping, take samples from the core of the potential site and try to understand the geological reasons behind the formation of the particular mineral they are looking for in an area of interest,” says the researcher’s note. “Essentially, they create a model of what a mining area might look like before they decide to spend money to drill.”
In addition to the possibility of finding critical minerals and metals for earthly endeavors, mining the moon could allow humans to explore the solar system and beyond. If a fuel source can be extracted from the moon, it would mean that spacecraft would not have to carry extra fuel with them for long missions. This, in turn, would help alleviate the cost of flights, while the extraction of precious minerals would serve as a financing line for the missions, the scientists explain.
According to the data handled by scientists and companies that propose a return to lunar travel, the asteroids that impact the satellite have high concentrations of iron, nickel or precious metals and since there is no protective atmosphere like on earth, their presence in the moon would be significantly larger than on our planet.