Hunter coal miners wondering about their futures could always consider a mining job on the moon.
That might sound a bit far out. Forgive us, we've been watching Steve Carell's new TV comedy, Space Force.
The series - which is streaming on Netflix - combines Carell's comic genius with John Malkovich in the role of an eccentric chief scientist - a modern-day Dr Strangelove.
The series was timely for us because we'd recently been talking to University of Newcastle law lecturer Bin Li about US President Donald Trump's plans for mining on the moon.
Space Force is about this very subject. The unnamed president in the series calls for "boots on the moon by 2024". When the "fictional" president tweets about it, he accidentally types "boobs on the moon".
Carell plays US four-star general Mark Naird, who's hoping to become head of the Air Force. Instead he's tasked to lead a new branch of the armed forces - Space Force - at a secret base in Colorado. It has the task of getting the US to the moon.
His wife Maggie [Lisa Kudrow] isn't happy about the move. In an unexpected plot twist, she gets sent to prison for 40 to 60 years for a crime that isn't specified.
The comedy series features the US in a race with China to establish a moon base. Which brings us back to Bin Li, the academic we'd been chatting to about the United States' real-life plans to mine the moon.
Dr Li's research delves into the world of space law. Now that's an out-of-this-world job, if we've ever heard it.
"The US is very interested to proceed with its moon project, including mining on the moon," Dr Li said.
The US plans to launch rockets from the moon instead of Earth for missions to Mars.
"If they launch rockets from the moon, it will save a lot of resources," Dr Li said.
"The moon actually has an abundance of ice, which can be turned to oxygen and hydrogen and used as a fuel for future rockets."
The US is also interested in rare earth minerals on the moon, which "looks to be very profitable".
"They're essential to making some military and electronic devices," he said.
"I believe one of the reasons for the US to be so interested in rare earth minerals on the moon is that the majority of rare earth minerals are produced by China.
"So the US is very concerned about this monopoly position. It's very strategic."
A Moon Treaty - created in 1979 - regulates mining activities on the moon.
The US never signed the treaty.
"According to the treaty, no country can conduct mining activities on the moon unless an international legal framework is set up to regulate the mining activities," Dr Li said.
Australia is a party to the treaty. Which, we imagine, will make things a bit tricky for Australia if it wants to join the US moon project.
NASA has already noted that Australia's mining expertise could be useful on the moon.
Which brings us back to Hunter miners looking at their futures.
A job on the moon would give a whole new meaning to fly-in, fly-out miners.
Did you hear about the great new restaurant on the moon? The food is excellent, but there's no atmosphere.
How does a man on a moon get his haircut? Eclipse it.
Why wasn't the moon hungry? Because it was full.
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