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Whitepaper #079 submitted to the Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032. Topics: Mercury and/or the Moon; other science themes: Protection of astrobiologically potent areas
We recommend that NASA with our international colleagues prioritize assessing the origin and renewability of the lunar polar deposits, first, before the fragile environment is irreversibly altered by resource extraction via commercial mining. We thus propose that a flagship-level lunar lander/rover mission be sent to the floor of a polar crater.