Space Resources

I was going through some very old emails from the days of SEDS India and Moon Society, India. This is around 2010. There was a student at the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad (with the email id - that keeps bouncing then and now) who wanted to become a member. We wanted to take his help to understand the data from Chandrayaan-I’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3). There is not much of an email trail but there is a mobile number.

ISM, Dhanbad

This reminded me of ISM itself. The Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad is an interesting place which could be the center of focus soon. ISM Dhanbad has been converted into an IIT, but I hope it maintains some of its character as a mine school. This school will very soon be a very important school for space companies and India’s space programme.

The principles of extraction may or may not differ much from Earth to other celestial bodies. So far we have only picked up rocks that were already on the surface of a celestial body. We have dug some holes on some celestial objects as well, but that was mostly to collect samples.


I asked on Twitter/X if anyone at ISM, Dhanbad is working on extracting resources from celestial objects. I have not received a reply.

India Today had reported in 2021 that they had plans to start courses on asteroid mining. There is no update about the same. They do now have a center for seabed mining but no center for asteroid mining.

In Edition 81 of The Takshashila Institution’s High Tech Geopolitics newsletter, Ashwin Prasad, Space Power Analyst, talks about the consensus emerging between the United States and China about resource utilization on the Moon.

In a recent episode of SparX podcast by Mukesh Bansal, Pixxel’s Awais Ahmed speaks about how we will begin by extracting water, before moving on to other things.

Why will this be important?

The consensus emerging between US and China shows how important extraction of space resources is going to be. India is one of the few countries that now has the capability to land on the Moon. But, we also need to build the capability for extracting resources, studying mineral resources, and using those resources on the Moon and back on Earth. ISM, Dhanbad could be the place where we start to learn how to do this and build companies which do this.

April 22, 2024