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The Off Earth Mining Forum will focus on a range of topics, including lunar mining.
The Off Earth Mining Forum will focus on a range of topics, including lunar mining.

Mining on the moon not such a stretch

A growing number of engineers, entrepreneurs and explorers are looking forward to the prospect of extracting off-Earth minerals – and they will be passionately discussing it later this week.
A future moon colony is no longer a fanciful idea and its purpose for mining could serve as a launch pad or refueling station for spaceflight further afield.

At the University of New South Wales (UNSW), a multi-disciplinary research effort in the Faculty of Engineering is exploring opportunities for making moon mining viable, and to design innovative methods to build, source and extract those minerals.

As part of this research, the UNSW’s Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research and the Schools of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mining Engineering are hosting an inaugural Off-Earth Mining Forum.

The two-day event – on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 February, 2013 - will see international experts and Australian researchers in the fields of robotics, mining and spacecraft engineering come together to review this growth area.

Keynote speaker Rene Fradet, deputy director of engineering science at NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory will speak about the success of the Curiosity Rover mission and its future challenges.

Notable amongst the presentations will be two suppliers to the quarrying industry. Pieter Prinsloo, of Sandvik Mining and Construction, will speak on mining machine automation. Transmin’s Adrian Boeing will discuss the company’s Rocklogic remotely operated robotic rock breaker system which won an award at the 21st Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunications Awards last year.

Other speakers will talk about the motivations for off-Earth mining, the challenges for engineering systems in space, business innovations, and ethical, legal and heritage concerns.

UNSW researchers will share results from experiments testing the strength of bricks made from a lunar soil simulant, and how they store thermal energy.

For more information, visit

Source: University of New South Wales

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