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See detailWaste Management for Lunar Resources Activities: Towards a Circular Lunar Economy
Salmeri, Antonino UL; Pino, Paolo; Humes, Shayna et al

in Proceedings of the 71st International Astronautical Congress - The Cyberspace Edition (2020, October)

Space resources activities are currently the objective of a thriving, cross-disciplinary, global effort aimed at assessing their role and potential in the future of humankind. New, innovative mission ... [more ▼]

Space resources activities are currently the objective of a thriving, cross-disciplinary, global effort aimed at assessing their role and potential in the future of humankind. New, innovative mission concepts, legal frameworks, and advanced technologies are being actively developed and proposed with the final goal of enabling profitable and efficient space resource utilization. The immediate location for these impacts is the Moon. In sight of this bright cohort of imminent perspectives, it’s imperative for the global community to properly assess the potential effects and consequences of the forthcoming space resources activities, with the goal of including sustainability in the foundations of the ongoing progress and ensuring its enforcement in every future endeavour. Within this context, this paper addresses the topics of Moon mining waste management and a lunar circular economy as key issues in the sustainable utilization of space resources. The most promising technologies are considered for lunar resources extraction and processing - with special focus on water - correlating their waste generation potential to the scale of the efforts implemented and to the projected availability of the resources of interest. Importance is also given to the corollary activities of space mining - such as logistics and transport operations - for their implications in waste management. Protocols and technologies with the lower waste generation potential are identified and further scenarios are elaborated for waste handling, reduction, reuse, and recycle, as well as end-of-life strategies for mining plants. This report’s recommendations are proposed for the development of incremental regulation for waste management, including but not limited to the definition of common areas of non-interest for waste disposal and regulatory obligations for conducting impact assessments before the establishment of mining activities. Please note that the present paper has been developed under the auspices of the Space Generation Advisory Council, as part of the activities of the Space Exploration Project Group. [less ▲]

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