The Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown program or CATALYST as it is often called, is taking the first steps towards exploring the moon for valuable resources.
A number of private companies have submitted applications to NASA, who will pick one or more of the applicants to build “prospecting robots” that will search the moon for valuable resources that are rare on Earth.
With their budget uncertain (the portion of the federal budget appropriated to NASA has declined pretty steadily since the early 90s), NASA has been trying creative ways to obtain funding for their continued research and space exploration- the CATALYST program being the latest example.
However, the United Nations’ 1967 Outer Space Treaty explicitly prohibits any one country from laying claim to the moon. Naturally, CATALYST has sparked a fierce debate about lunar property rights, discussed in more depth in this National Geographic article.
The way I see it, there’s two major questions we must ask ourselves here:
Read the full story from The Verge here.
Feature image courtesy of NOVA.org