Revenue Sources
Section 3.4.
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Selling Lunar Rock Plaques to the Public

By Clark S. Lindsey

[This has not been budgeted in the revenue analyses. This is an exercise only in showing the potential for profit in this area.]

Samples of the Apollo moon rocks are currently available on loan to schools and museums as very thin slices on microscope slides. (See web site for the lunar samples curator site). The Artemis Project could offer similar samples, but for sale to anyone.

It's difficult to say how thin it can be sliced, but for argument's sake, assume that you can cut a given moonrock to 50 micron thickness (counting wastage). From a moon "brick" 30cm x 10cm x 10cm, you could obtain 600,000 1cm square samples. Emboss each sample and mount it on a pretty picture frame with a blurb below it describing the sample, e.g. from what site it was obtained, what kind of rock it is, estimated age, etc., and also an etched-on serial number to prevent counterfeiting (a digital picture "fingerprint" could be kept on file).

Most would pay at least $200 for such a plaque on their wall. At such a price, a single brick would bring in $120M. If the brick is around 6kg (assuming 2g/cc for moon dust), that would be $20M/kg. If you can push the thickness down to 20 microns, you could get $50M/kg. Even with a very expensive mode of transport such as rockets, the cost per kilogram landed and returned from the moon is under $0.1M; you could make a big profit at that price.

Assuming a good deal of moonrock is taken back on the first moon flight, and 60 kg of brick was retrieved as part of that (about a 30 x 30 x 30cm block of stacked bricks), the potential profit with 50-micron slices is about (10 bricks x $120M/brick) $1,200 million US dollars (about the cost of the reference misson). With thinner slices of 20 microns, that increases to about US$2 billion.

Obviously, many variations could be taken on this. There can be different area and thickness samples sold at a wide range of prices. Real "slab" size samples could be sold for substantial prices. There is more than one millionare who would like to have a real moon rock on display at home.

One should not underestimate the collecting mania that lies within everyone. Limited edition series could be offered: Artemis Project expedition series, maria series, highland series, etc.

The dust from the cuttings could be sold to various manufacturers, e.g. Star Wars figures containing a few micrograms of real moon dust. Perhaps the Franklin Mint would like to brag about the moon dust in their Star Trek plates and chess pieces. Grains from brick processing or dust stuck to the EVA suits could also be suspended in glass and incorporated into jewlery, paperweights, etc.

Whatever approach is taken, one must see the market for Artemis Project products as the entire planet. There are 6 billion people on this planet who have seen the moon and marveled at it. I'm sure there are at least a few million of them who would like to have a piece of it for themselves.

Revenue Sources

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