Going to the moon (as private citizen...)

If I was an eccentric Billionaire and really fancied it, could I take myself for a walk on the moon?

What I was wondering is…

A: Are there any specific laws I need to abide by or ‘negotiate’ around that could feasibility block my progress, or any agencies I need to gain permission from prior to such a launch? Or is the moon ‘fair game’ to anyone, assuming I have a suitable flight path lodged and clear launch site available to me?

B: How much are we talking, ballpark?


You’d have to develop your own hardware beyond earth orbit for transfer and landing; I see that one of the private companies is testing a rocket capable of launching some very hefty payloads (including ISS resupply) for about $1000/lb. Use that to launch the equipment.
I would guess, on the cheap, about $10 billion (WAG - wild-ass guess). Then the question is, how much testing do you want to do before you trust your life to it? How many copies will you build before you use one?

Laws? Depends where you launch from. Each country has its own air safety laws, and as I recall, the US is certifying private spacecraft now; but just take it to Costa Rica or Trinidad and I’m sure the local politicians will welcome the investment and they haven’t changed their laws to forbid private space travel.

The US might pressure the rocket company not to participate…

There are no trespassing laws about the moon, but it not for owning either.

I can’t remember if Andy Griffith ever went to the moon on the 1979 television series, Salvage 1. Many of their plot devices dealt with the team getting around federal laws around space travel.

There are federal laws restricting rocket launches by U.S. citizens from anywhere in the world. So you can’t just trot off to another country and launch from there.

Interestingly, SpaceX (the private company mentioned by MD2000) just announced that they will be launching a moon lander built by another private company, Astrobotic Technologies. That’s going up on the Falcon 9. SpaceX is also working on a heavy-lift rocket (basically a Falcon 9 with another two Falcon 9’s strapped on as boosters) which will be able to carry 4x the payload. Right now they’re estimating that a ride on a Falcon Heavy will cost $100 million.

Of course you’ve still got to come up with a spacecraft and lander, which will be expensive since there isn’t anything remotely similar in existence.

The real question is how are you going to test your equipment? How many tests before it works enough to trust your life to it? Rocketry is not like flying where you can go araound and try again. If you miss the rendezvous on return, it’s just a longer way to die than missing the landing.

Don’t worry, private companies always tests theirs technologies with the consumers.

Space Adventures Ltd, which does the Soyuz space tourism, offers a circumlunar mission for $100 million, with a targeted 2015 launch.

Probably for not much more money and planning, you could put a person on the surface…if you didn’t care about bringing them back. Or actually surviving the landing.

Right, companies like Boeing and Airbus don’t test their aircraft at all before you fly on them.

As far as what you can do once you’re on the moon - whatever you want. We’ve got lunar treaties and such, but you aren’t a country and what is anyone going to do about it? As long as no one can physically contest your claim, the whole thing is yours.

What happens on the moon, stays on the moon.

Figuratively and literally.

They’ll do it with the fusion generator they’ll also have running by 2015.

Let’s hope Bioware isn’t doing the bug testing.

If it uses Russian hardware, count me out. The Russians never made it to the Moon for a reason…

They made it around the moon a coupla times. Some of them would have even been survivable! (For humans, that is…the critters they stuffed onboard the other capsules apparently survived most of the other missions. Most of.)

Yeah, but when it comes to getting in orbit and coming back down their track record is pretty good…