Astronomers Voice Concern Over Lunar Commercial Ventures

    Astronomers Voice Concern Over Lunar Commercial Ventures
    Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Amid this week's launch of NASA's Peregrine mission one — the first in a flurry of probes being sent to the moon's surface by space-faring companies — astronomers have warned that unrestricted access to the moon and its resources could damage important scientific activities.

    • Astrobotic Technology's lander was NASA's first launch of a commercial lunar payload service. However, this moon-landing attempt was abandoned after the spacecraft suffered a fuel leak just hours after Monday's launch.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    It's long past time that NASA makes its return to the moon — this time permanently. With strong private partnerships, lunar exploration can also yield new celestial markets, catalyze innovation, bring back to Earth vital resources, and even set the stage for an even grander venture to Mars. The moon is a logical stepping stone to space colonization ventures that will be vital to human civilization.

    Narrative B

    There are too many problems on Earth that urgently need to be addressed before space colonization is pursued. Historically speaking the public has not shown much interest in space travel and, therefore, is against splurging on space programs. Advancing the field of astronomy and related fields is important if it's cost-effective, but these commercialized lunar ventures are likely to disrupt even the best intentions of responsible scientific inquiry.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that SpaceX will launch humans around the Moon by July 2028, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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