Lunar Sample Return Business Plan Summary
The goal of the Lunar Sample Return Project is to land a probe on the moon
which returns a quantity of moon rocks to Earth to be sold for a profit.
The revenues will be used to fund further sample return missions, and be
invested in the Lunar Base Development Fund to help pay for the manned
exploration base. This project is also an opportunity to gain credibility
for commercial planetary space flight, especially for the Artemis Project,
to gain additional hands-on experience with space missions for the Artemis
Project team, and to establish infrastructure which can be reused for
The Lunar Sample Return Project is an exciting venture to return to the
moon, for profit. A rocket would place a small spacecraft in Earth Orbit,
from where it would fire its engines to travel to and land on the moon. A
small telerobot would then explore the landing site and collect lunar rocks
and moon dust, which would then be sent back through space to an ocean
splashdown with about 4 tons of lunar regolith.
The program cost is estimated to be about US$420 million. Such a low
program cost is possible by using technologies established by previous
government space ventures, by building to commercial aerospace standards,
and the lack of a large government bureaucracy. Funding comes from a
combination of direct investment through sale of stock, advance sales, and
The program revenues are to be determined; however, there is a high
probability that the program will generate substantial profit. As an
example. for about 5 cents worth of lunar rock it is possible to make a 1
cm square slide, which could be mounted on a marble plaque and sold for
substantially more then the cost of the rock and casing. Other uses for
the lunar material include jewelry, enhancement to more mundane products,
and of course scientific samples. Estimates of the revenues this mission
are usually over a billion dollars. There is currently an effort underway
to determine approximate revenues in more detail.
These first financial estimates are simply calculations using reasonable
assumptions, and gathering marketing data by carefully grilling coworkers.
A formal market survey would provide confidence in the basis of estimate,
but a low-cost survey would be worthless because concept shock would mar
the results. Plans for a full, more accurate, market survey are being
developed based on first introducing the concept through the Artemis
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