Moon Express, which got a mission approval document from the United States government for what it hopes to be the first private voyage to the lunar surface, would like to make money mining the Earth’s nearest neighbor for valuable minerals. Those minerals include platinum group metals and helium 3, an isotope not found in nature on Earth that could be used as fuel for fusion reactors. The company could also extract water that can be refined into rocket fuel. In the short term, Moon Express has a couple of practical ways to start making money, according to CBS News.

The entrepreneurial #Space company has just signed a deal with Celestis to take the ashes of the departed to the lunar surface. For $12,500 you can add a capsule containing the remains of a loved one to a Moon Express lunar flight. The principle is similar to spreading ashes at sea or some other favorite location. People who pay for this service will be able to look up at the moon most nights and remember their departed dear ones. Celestis has already a dozen people whose ashes will fly to the moon next year and expects that the first flight will contain 100 to 250 of these “passengers” with thousands being interned on the lunar surface over the next few years.

The other short term business idea is to recover moon rocks and sell them as jewelry. The well-heeled and the creative could, therefore, present their loved ones with a ring with a moon rock set in it instead of a diamond. Moon rocks are currently the rarest commodity on the planet, most being the property of NASA and loaned out to academic institutions under stringent conditions.

These two ideas of making money constitute Moon Express’ attempt to keep the lights on while it develops the really profitable business of mining the moon for its resources. Naveen Jain, one of the founders of Moon Express, estimates the value of resources that could be extracted from the Moon is $16 quadrillion. Even getting at a small part of that untapped wealth would constitute riches beyond the dreams of avarice.   #MoonExpress #MoonMining