Could I buy the moon?

What is its value?

Sorry, I’m not selling.

ETA for FQ: No idea.

No, because to sell something, you have to own it first, and no one owns any real estate on the moon.

Legally, who owns the moon?

Why buy it? Just build a moon base to defend against all intruders and declare it your own country.

Of course, you can’t purchase it, there’s nobody to sell it to you… however, I do know about a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

Three ways.

Dejure control of the moon:
The price would be whatever lobbying/bribes/incentives would be necessary to overturn the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and giving you sole proprietorship, while not having the people who over turned it getting replaced by people who would immediately reverse their decision. I have no idea how much that would be but you would have to start with a really good reason for why handing over property rights to the moon is in everyone’s best interest.

Defacto control of the moon:
You need to have enough money to launch create a military installation on the moon that is sufficient to prevent anyone else from landing there. This would probably cost in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Decretum control of the moon:
You can simply declare you own the moon. Until you or someone else sends another expedition there it makes no difference. If someone does send an expedition there then you will probably want to benevolently grant them free access to your property just to prevent the hassle of defending it through one of the two methods described above.

If yes, were you planning on having it delivered? That could take some time due to supply chain issues, and might cost more than you have budgeted.

Robert Heinlein had a few ideas about this.

OP: Do you want to know the Moon’s value, or its price. Two very different things.

In its current largely unreachable and totally undeveloped state, its value is darn near zero. Once you’ve built your impregnable battle station into it and can hold the entire Earth for ransom a la some Death Star made of solid rock, that value will be much greater.

Aren’t there any valuable minerals or substances on the moon? I remember one book where a company was making moon dust into glass, I think?

The Moon weighs a LOT. 7E22 kg for round numbers. Even if some inherently valuable substance is a small percentage of the total, there’s a LOT of whatever up there. The problem is that any e.g. gold in lunar soil is useless there. It becomes valuable only once separated and transported here.

This wiki talks about useful materials available on the Moon. It’s written from the POV of using those materials to build stuff locally. But that same stuff could be transported to Earth. Provided transport was cheap enough. Aye, there’s the rub.

We have had threads in the past (that I can’t find right now) that talk about the economics of asteroid mining. Which are problematic to say the least when the goal is to return the mined materials to Earth for use there. Mining asteroids to support a space-based economy out there is a much more practical idea, albeit probably one reserved for a few centuries from now.

All the above is about the value of the Moon simply as a source of raw materials. The Moon also potentially has value as a source of vast-scale hard vacuum and of low gravity. Either or both of which might be useful in making some as-yet unknown future product out of some as-yet unidentified material.

How much did it cost to send astronauts to collect all that moon dust and rock 60 years ago?

They would have to find some pretty valuable stuff up there to justify being it back on a commercial basis rather than just for science.

Recent thread:

Sounds like a bargain price to me. The moon is a big place - about the same as Africa plus Australia. You’d need a decent number of well-equipped bases to defend that.

For comparison, NASA says the cost of the Artemis program to land a human on the moon will be $93 billion.

Maybe not.

A single base anywhere on the hemisphere of the Moon which faces towards Earth would be well positioned to fire weapons at any vehicle coming up from Earth via any conceivable orbit. Better to be located not too close to the Moon’s limb from Earth’s POV, but that still leaves lots of room.

You only need multiple bases, overlapping fields of fire, and all that stuff common to terrestrial fortifications when the enemy has multiple options for his avenue of approach and you need to guard them all.

To be sure, if your weapons are real short range, like less than a few Moon diameters, you’ll be shooting real late in their approach and your enemy may have had room to spread out beyond your local horizon. That would be bad.

How much would it cost to ship the moon by UPS?

You need to steal the shrink ray first.

Well, the U.S. planted our flag there. Doesn’t that give us dibs?

Dammit! I came in to say that someone had already sold it.

I’m currently reading Artemis by Andy Weir where that’s part of the plot. (But I’m not through, so please no spoilers.)

And also to receive fire from such vehicles.

Not to mention the cost of installing and maintaining powerful weapons at a moon base.

In Artemis, there was a breakthrough discovery that made lunar resources extremely valuable. That product has not yet been invented in our timeline.

In Heinlein’s story, one proposed method for buying the Moon was based on the premise that it’s jointly owned, in equal shares, by all of humanity. So you need to negotiate with every other human for what each of them considers a fair price for their share of the Moon. Add them all up, and there’s your total value. It’d be a lot easier to just by a controlling 51% share, though, because that way you avoid the outliers who hold out for a much higher price than the median seller.