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Earth's space environment is being used more and more intensively. Mega constellations are beginning to light up the night sky, providing services to the planet's inhabitants, but also may impact ground-based astronomy. Junk is accumulating in the more heavily used Earth orbits, increasing the risk of a ...

Earth's space environment is being used more and more intensively. Mega constellations are beginning to light up the night sky, providing services to the planet's inhabitants, but also may impact ground-based astronomy. Junk is accumulating in the more heavily used Earth orbits, increasing the risk of a cascade effect which renders space-faring impossible. Meanwhile, several countries want to go or return to the Moon, and this time plan to use its resources. Long-term plans even include spacemining asteroids or a ''multi-planetary society, where the resources of the solar system are available to the people of Earth'' (NASA). How can we link the issues of sustainable space use with the environmental debate here on Earth? This research topic aims to combine the emergent topic of using space resources with the even more pressing issue of true planetary sustainability. From the perspective of space science and astronomy, for example, the increasing availability of affordable satellites such as CubeSats and the intensifying plans for lunar exploration hold big promises, but also pose new challenges in terms of space debris and satellites interfering with ground-based astronomy and changes to the primordial lunar environment.

We invite contributions to this Research Topic covering space resources and their effect on planetary sustainability in the broadest sense. Under planetary sustainability we understand a consideration of sustainability matters conscious of the fact that Earth is a planet with a space environment. Space resources include both orbital space resources (e.g. room for satellites and space-faring) as well as water, ores, other organic and an-organic materials situated in space, on the moon or other celestial bodies.
The aim of the collection is to foster a discussion of the interrelation of the use of space resources with the important issue of planetary sustainability.

This Research Topic welcome contributions around (but not limited to) the following themes:
- The availability of space resources, their accessibility, and their impact on planet Earth.
- The best use of space resources for humankind, both ethically and practically.
- Considerations of challenges and opportunities like space debris, planetary protection, the return of humans to the Moon, etc.
We welcome all article types viable for Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Cover image credited to NASA.

Keywords: space resources, planetary sustainability, planetary protection, space debris, return to the Moon


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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