Trump signs order for US to start mining the moon for its resources

Russia is not happy with Trump’s move; says his order 'damaged the scope for international cooperation in space'

Donald Trump
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily coronavirus briefing as Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia (R) looks on in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump apparently doesn’t believe Americans have enough resources on Earth to mine so he is honing in on the moon.

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The Moon

376713 11: (FILE PHOTO) A view of the Earth appears over the Lunar horizon as the Apollo 11 Command Module comes into view of the Moon before Astronats Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. leave in the Lunar Module, Eagle, to become the first men to walk on the Moon’s surface. (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)

On Monday, Trump signed an executive order titled “Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources” giving the United States permission to mine the moon for its natural resources. The order directs the secretary of state to jumpstart efforts to get joint statements and bilateral agreements to “enable safe and sustainable operations for the commercial recovery and use of space resources.”

“Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity and the United States does not view space as a global commons,” the order reads.

“American industry and the industries of like-minded countries will benefit from the establishment of stable international practices by which private citizens, companies and the economy will benefit from expanding the economic sphere of human activity beyond the Earth,” the order adds.

For years, the United States has eyed the moon’s resources. Five years ago, Congress passed a law that gave American companies and citizens permission to use moon and asteroid resources. The United States also has declined to sign the 1979 Moon Treaty, which requires the use of space resources that are not scientific in nature to face international regulations.

The president’s order supports that policy.

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Moon USA

376713 22: (FILE PHOTO) The flag of the United States stands alone on the surface of the moon. The 30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing mission is celebrated July 20, 1999. (Photo by NASA/Newsmakers)

Russia doesn’t appear to be happy with Trump’s order. The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, said Trump was creating a path to seize other planets and said his order “damaged the scope for international cooperation in space,” according to Reuters. Space belongs to everyone not exclusively the United States, Roscosmos said in a statement.

“Attempts to expropriate outer space and aggressive plans to actually seize territories of other planets hardly set the countries (on course for) fruitful cooperation,” according to the statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added that “any kind of attempt to privatize space in one form or another— and I find it difficult to say now whether this can be seen as an attempt to privatize space— would be unacceptable,” reported Reuters.