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The US government seems serious about developing a lunar economy

For the first time ever, the United States is getting serious about fostering an economy on the Moon.
NASA, of course, is in the midst of developing the Artemis program to return humans to the Moon. As part of this initiative, NASA seeks to foster a lunar economy in which the space agency is not the sole customer.
That’s easier said than done. A whole host of conditions must be met for a lunar economy to thrive. There must be something there that can be sold, be it resources, a unique environment for scientific research, low-gravity manufacturing, tourism, or another source of value. Reliable transportation to the Moon must be available. And there needs to be a host of services, such as power and communications for machines and people on the lunar surface. So yeah, it’s a lot.
In recent months, a US Defense organization, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has stepped in to help. This is important because DARPA is a key supporter of emerging technologies with a track record of success. (DARPA, for example, bought the very first launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket.) Last year, the defense agency announced it was initiating a study, LunA-10, to understand how best to facilitate a thriving lunar economy by 2035.
In December, DARPA announced that it was working with 14 different companies under LunA-10, including major space players such as Northrop Grumman and SpaceX, as well as non-space firms such as Nokia. These companies are assessing how services such as power and communications could be established on the Moon, and they’re due to provide a final report by June.
Things are moving faster than that, however. The DARPA program manager overseeing these activities, Major Michael



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