NASA is creating financial incentives for private companies to market lunar resources. This could be a first step to developing lunar mining capabilities. The biggest benefit of the program, though, is precedent. It puts the U.S. government’s imprimatur on space commerce. Given the ambiguities in public international space law, this precedent has the potential to steer space policy and commerce in a pro-market direction.
This is a key paragraph in Alexander William Salter and David R. Henderson, “NASA is Paying for Moon Rocks. The Implications for Space Commerce are Huge,” AIER, September 16, 2020.
Read the whole thing. It’s short.