NASA wants to mine the moon, but legal professionals say it’s complicated.

Technology is the first barrier that humans must overcome if we are to increase our presence in the solar system. According to NASA , the distance between Earth’s surface and Mars takes around seven months to travel. Thrillist points out that a trip to the Moon only takes three days, whereas a trip to Jupiter or Saturn—the next bodies beyond Mars—would take a long time—six or seven years, respectively. Technically speaking, the way we currently send astronauts and spacecraft to these far-off bodies is a launch (via NASA ). We would need to develop a propulsion system that could continuously deliver powered flight to a spacecraft, or at least the capability to continuously augment flight speed, rather than simply relying on initial launch velocity to carry the craft along to its final destination, in order to make space travel more feasible for human explorers.

This involves combining two opposing realities: First, humans must create a brand-new form of propulsion that uses significantly less mass and storage space, a truly revolutionary idea; second, we must discover a way to hop between planets and recharge throughout this arduous journey. As a result, both colonization and the ability to mine minerals from the surfaces of nearby planets and moons are necessary for the technological improvement that would enable expanded space travel. To sustain these efforts, continuous colonization on new worlds would be necessary.

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