Water is the most valuable asset in space when it comes to manned space missions and supporting life in space, The demand for water in space is expected to grow from 240 t/year by 2020 to over 40,000 t/year by 2050.
The single data point observation from the LCROSS mission showed an average 5.6% water content of regolith, current scientific thinking is the water is at or near the surface to a depth of at least 2 meters.
Space Mining Law
Under the Outer Space Treaty (1967), in which all the current space faring nations are signatories, no terrestrial authority can claim sovereignty over space. Consequently, there is no recognition of property rights in space nor of a mining claim. The Law of the Sea applies insofar as to recognize any craft or its contents are under the sovereignty of the country’s whose flag it flies.
Currently there is no company or country mining in space however NASA has developed a vehicle to excavate rogolith for the purpose of extracting water, mining and processing rate will be 500 kg/hr of regolith with an average water content of 5.6% producing an annual water production would be 245.25 T/yr. Estimated cost to manufacture and deploy to the Moon is US$800 Million.