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A new international space race is on — and it could junk up our pristine moon

The area within Earth’s orbit including the moon’s surface is a “potential treasure trove” of scientific discovery, said Uma Bruegman, the lead of the Space Safety Institute at the Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit corporation that advises space missions. The lunar surface offers “access to resources like water, helium-3, and rare earth materials,” she added. “There’s a lot of excitement thinking about what the potential there is.” Helium-3, for instance, can fuel nuclear fusion reactors.


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