Science, Science and Society, Technology

Mining the moon

This popped up in one of the legion of email newsletters I generally fail to do anything other with than skim.


It’s a video in which Barney Pell (successful entrepreneur and former NASA engineer) pitches the new venture with which he’s involved - Moon Express - and why going to the moon makes economic sense.

In a nutshell?  Minerals, including platinum.  If you’re interested in the short, 2 min pitch, it’s available on the Forbes website (I’d embed it here, but can’t, so meh).

But yes, it’s an interesting concept!  I’m not an engineer of any sort, so I’d be very interested to hear what other people think of the idea.

To get you started, I found these two articles, as well:

Lunar platinum and alcohol fuel cells

Mining The Moon: Closing The Business Case

And now: floor open!


On a completely separate note, also came across this today: an hilarious cartoon showing the difference between how the public _thinks_ science is carried out, and how it actually is.  It’s funny, ’cause it’s true…

  • Andrew Worth

    Mining the Moon is to me one of the big three in terms of ways of making money from space - besides what we’re doing now - along with space based power and paying passengers.

    In a recent speech Elon Musk suggested that, if they could get reusability with the Falcon, the price to orbit could get as low as $50-100/lb ($110-220/kg). Such a price, which is about a tenth of the present day cost, would bring such industries into the realms of the economically feasible.

  • Michael Edmonds

    Would the moon’s orbit be affected if substantial amounts of moon material was exported to Earth?

  • Darcy Cowan

    Michael, as I understand it the answer would be no. The most relevant parts of the equation are distance and velocity. As these would not change then the orbit would not be affected.

  • Jonathan

    This guy might be involved as well - it’s also a cool talk: