NASA’s Lunar Mining Trial: Paving the Way for Space Colonization

By Sophia Francise

June 29, 2023
Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module

According to a scientist, NASA has already begun taking measures toward mining moon soil in 2032. 

The space agency hopes to develop resources on the moon, starting with oxygen and water and then expanding to iron and rare earths.

By 2025, the US space agency intends to send back Americans to the moon as part of the Artemis mission, including the first woman and person of color, and to use the mission’s lessons to pave the way for a mission to Mars.

Expanding commercial prospects in space is a crucial component of the objective. 

According to Gerald Sanders, a rocket scientist at NASA’s Johnston Space Center for 35 years, the organization wants to assess prospective resources, including energy, water, and lunar soil, to draw in private investment.[1]

According to Sanders, gaining access to resources on the moon will be essential for reducing costs and creating a circular economy.

“We are trying to invest in the exploration phase, understand the resources… to (lower) risk such that external investment makes sense that could lead to development and production,” he told a mining conference in Brisbane.

“We are literally just scratching the surface,” he said. Nasa will at the end of the month send a test drill rig to the moon and plans a larger-scale excavation of moon soil, or regolith, and a pilot processing plant in 2032.

What Purpose Will the Resources Serve?

Commercial rocket firms are anticipated to be the first clients, as they may use oxygen or fuel from the moon.

According to Samuel Webster, an assistant director at the agency, the Australian Space Agency is working on constructing a semi-autonomous rover that will collect regolith samples on a NASA mission as early as 2026.

The lunar soil collection that the rover will show off contains oxides of oxygen.

He said that Nasa would attempt to recover that oxygen using different equipment brought to the moon with the rover.

“This … is a key step towards establishing a sustainable human presence on the moon, as well (as) supporting future missions to Mars,” he said at the conference.


  1. Melanie Burton and Gerry Doyle, ‘NASA sees moon lunar mining trial within the next decade’, Reuters, 28 June 2023,[]