Is China Trying to Mine the Moon?


Quick Answer

China has announced a theoretical plan to mine the moon for minerals and other scarce natural resources, but some experts are skeptical that the plan will ever fruition. At the moment, it's still in the research and development phrase.

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Is China Trying to Mine the Moon?
Credit: NASA/Dennis M. Davidson / Public domain Other

Full Answer

In 2013, China launched a moon rover named Yutu that successfully landed on the moon's surface. It was deployed with a mission of surveying the moon's surface and soil makeup. Though Yutu was able to drill more than 105 yards deep into the moon's soil, it became stuck soon after landing and was not able to complete its mission.

The soil samples collected by Yutu contained calcium, aluminum and silicon, but China's plans to establish mining operations on the moon hit a major stumbling block when the Yutu was unable to complete its data gathering mission. As of 2014, China was planning another moon rover mission. Until the technology to successfully extract minerals from the moon and return those resources to Earth is developed, any plans to mine the moon will remain in the realm of theory.

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