How to make money off of the Moon and or Mars?

With talk of new explorations in space I have to ask how anyone can make money off of it? Is there any definite way to start making money off of the Moon and Mars that transport will solve? Forget spin-off tech, which is not planned on, or space tourism, which will only ever be a sideshow. I mean heavy industries, I mean mining, and I mean farming. Is there anyone saying “man, I could make a fortune off of the moon if only I could get their and back”? Not theoretical, but definite business plans that only need to get over the transportation hurdle.

If space travel does not quickly lead to any new industries that rely on it, this new thrust of exploration will die just as quick a death as the Apollo missions did.

Mining the moon for Helium-3 is a popular idea. The problem is that we haven’t got a fusion reactor that can make use of this Helium 3.

Lunar soil contains a lot of oxygen and many light metals (aluminum, magnesium, etc.) The oxygen is especially valuable in space, not just for breathing but also as oxidizer for rocket engines. However, these material are plentiful on earth so the only customers for lunar metal and oxygen will be other space stations and spacecraft. Still, if there are profitable ways to use a low earth orbit space station, lunar mining may help reduce the operating expenses.

That’s about all I can think of. It seems to me that it’s very difficult to make money off the Moon and Mars at this point. Low earth orbit is different; there are plenty of industrial uses for microgravity as well as telecommunications and surveillance. I’d say let NASA do interplanetary and lunar explorations, but leave the launch and satellite business to private companies. Actually that’s not too far from what’s happening, but some say they don’t do enough to promote independent development of launchers.

Would it be possible to project an image onto the moon that would then be viewed from Earth?

Maybe with a laser on a satellite in orbit? Sort of like they do with the Epcot ball. The first extraterrestrial billboard.

The first advertiser would be Nike, I’m sure.

The moon isn’t as wide to an observer on Earth as you probably think it is; it would have to be an awfully simple logo for most people to recognize it without the aid of binoculars.

Hmmm… like the Nike swoosh. Just do it, indeed.

Just think of the buzz-hype-PR Nike would generate if they did this. It would be out of this world!

Yech! That’s truly obscene. Possibly illegal. Certainly grounds for burning at the stake…

If you had enough energy to illuminate the moon, you might as well use that technology to solve all the world’s energy problems. The moon is 1/4 the size of planet Earth, and you have to illuminate a significant fraction of its surface for it to be visible. Even if you illuminate the dark part of a crescent moon you’re competing with the brightness of the sunlit part, so your light has to be almost as bright as sunlight. Imagine a lighting system 10 times brighter than typical sports stadium illumination covering an entire continent, and you get the idea of the energy requirements.

If they try burning logos in the moon we might end up with CHA burned off and a chunk of moon missing.

So, scr4, since it wouldn’t be possible to project enought light on the moon to outshine the sun, then the next best option would be to place a solid swoosh between the sun and the moon, thereby casting a shadow of the Nike symbol that would be visible from Earth.

If they can get people to buy $200 sneakers, they can do anything.

Actually, the easiest way to make a “space billboard” is to string together a bunch of large balloons in a pattern and place it in orbit. Low earth orbit is only 500 miles up so your billboard only needs to be about 10 miles across. Next easiest (and perhaps more effective) would be one huge balloon or sheet with markings on it.