We are going to return to the Moon. No question. And long-term human settlement will follow at some point, mainly to develop mineral and energy resources available on the Moon, but also to emplace protective systems aimed at avoiding large asteroid impacts of the type we were all recently made aware with that grazing meteor strike in Chelyabinsk and the simultaneous near-miss by big-rock DA14.
Growing shortages of key inorganic elements, such as rare earth elements for all our electronic gadgets and renewable energy systems, platinum and other related metals, and even helium for medical equipment (yes, and balloons!), suggest that we may need more non-renwable resources than Earth can provide (He shortage; REE shortage).
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