Business Plans List
This is a Lunarpedia category list of every conceivable way we have thought of for a lunar settlement to make money. We do not know what ideas will actually work so we started by listing everything, even bad ideas.
The money making ideas below are linked to business plan summaries. A full business plan is something you can take to the bank to get a loan. These are just simplified summaries to clearly define the idea.
To write a business plan you must have the business environment clearly defined. For this list two separate settlement time periods are covered, Near-Term and Long-Term. Each is supported by a defining scenario, to Near-Term Business Scenario and Mid-Term Business Scenario, to give a good idea of the state of the lunar settlement at the time the business plan is being put forward.
If you would like to help on this project, try writing a business plan for any of these concepts or one of your own. For tips on writing a business plan see Business Plan form
(See also List of Exports)
 Near-Term Lunar Business Plan Summaries List:
Many, many lunar money-making ideas that fit the Near-Term Business Scenario.
The harvesting of commercial quantities of Helium 3 on the Moon for making medical isotopes on Earth. This effort involves processing moderate amounts of lunar regolith for Volatiles. See Harrison Schmitt.
Harvesting hydrogen from lunar regolith to use as fuel for returning to Earth, shipping lunar products to Earth, and later for trips on to Mars and Earth-crossing asteroids. See Volatiles and Harrison Schmitt.
Harvesting Oxygen from lunar regolith for use as propellant oxidizers and in air for return trips to Earth and later for trips on to Mars and Earth-crossing asteroids.
As with hydrogen, oxygen from the moon is often referred to as possible rocket fuel. Repeated comments have been made elsewhere that it makes no sense to refuel rockets on Luna because so much fuel would be used in landing and launching to orbit again that the refueling is pointless. So it must be emphasized here that to export oxygen from Luna as rocket fuel, there must first be an electromagnetic launching system that effectively gets the oxygen to L2 or circular orbit without using more than a minor amount of maneuvering fuel. At L2 the oxygen could be loaded onto a tanker that would use a low delta vee transfer orbit to an atmosphere skimming elliptical Earth orbit. Aero braking would bring the tanker to circular low Earth orbit where the oxygen would be transferred to a depot. Oxygen from Luna would have to be delivered for less than the $10,000 per pound cost of oxygen delivered to low Earth orbit from Earth. The empty lunar tanker could then return to L2 by electric thrust from such as electro magneto fluid dynamic thrusters.
Harvesting fill gas for ship and building atmospheres. These include Argon and Nitrogen.
Regolith fines are processed to the level of ore concentrates with 95% by mass of mixed valuable mineral grains. Some elements made available are metal ores: KREEP, Titanium/iron. Some are other mineral concentrates: frits (fine ground minerals used for coloring ceramics and glass), and trace minerals for medicines and industrial processes.
Contained regolith and lunar rocks are sent back to near Earth orbit for use for radiation shielding, small particle protection, and thermal stabilization.
The writing of biographies, popular science, oral histories, and documenting the grand lunar adventure by those living it.
The writing of novels, story collections, and oral histories by individual Moon dwellers.
Writing and performing of songs and music from the Moon. Making both remote live performances and recorded pieces.
Exploiting the exotic location to take still photography for science and advertising. This product is electronically transmitted to Earth.
Production of major media pieces about the Moon or space settlement, such as CineMax Specials, or regular program for TV on science, or even a lunar soap opera.
Remote broadcasts and public outreach presentations made by individual Moon Dwellers.
Small objects handmade by the workers in lunar ceramics, scrap metal, glass using the prototype shop in their spare time. The products are shipped back to Earth primarily as ballast top-off.
Artistic installations built on the Moon of rock, glass, ceramics, and found materials. These installations are financed by grants and may be done by Moon people or Earth controlled robots. One form is the âArt of the Cairnâ or rock stacking.
Small lunar rocks and regolith samples logged and labeled properly. Mostly small in mass with color increases value. Shipped back as ballast top off. Sold over the internet.
Herbs and spices grown in Moon soil. Freeze dried and shipped back to Earth. This effort is a side product of early efforts to grow food on the Moon.
The installation and maintenance of science instruments on the Moon. Buying a minerâs time is usually cheaper than sending a dedicated astronaut.
The Moon is the true high ground. Installing instruments and generating data for weather prediction, treaty compliance, and energy usage.
Time on amateur astronomy equipment on the Moon. Small robot telescope on Moon, time rented over internet.
Exploiting lunar environment to material processing, lunar minerals, high vacuum, direct sun light, and 1/6 g. Largely proprietary product development testing for private companies.
Salvage of materials abandoned on the Moon, such as decent vehicles, and managing the reuse of these resources.
Teaching and tutoring remotely. A university professor with an endowed chair. Masters classes for science students.
Hours of daily exercise is a requirement for living in space. This can be very boring. This plan includes contests and net casts to make it more bearable. The sells of advertising banners at major events and âBe Fit like an Astronautâ videos support this effort.
Providing consulting services for aerospace business, robotics, and space operations. This effort is done remotely. Some highly trained and experienced people are on the Moon.
Serving as a member of the Board of Directors of a corporation (likely aerospace or technology firms) or as any other kind of administrator for private industry.
Contracting to provide technical services, such as engineering design. This idea is viable because some of the most experienced specialists available are on Moon.
Contracting to provide software development services remotely. Again, some of the most experienced specialists are on Moon.
Contracting to provide Internet Web Site Design. This is a part-time job for technical people in a prestige location.
Contracting to provide digital game designs. This is a part-time job for technical people and an offshoot of training rover work.
Providing off-world information technology services. These include an off-Earth data node, science data routing, and big hard drives in lunar cellars. This service will be advertised as IT that would have survived the end of the dinosaurs. See Communication.
Signatures, memorabilia, lunar rocks, dependent on ballast top-off shipments back to Earth.
The View from the Moon, with advertising.
Emblems on rockets, buildings, launch facilities, and the lunar rovers look like NASCAR race cars. White rocks on a hill side are reserved for settlement name, as is done in the American West. Large rock and trench logos beside corporate facilities that are visible on approach.
You on the Moon General tours, lunar skiing, and exploration expeditions. All very expensive.
Robot rover on Moon operated by tourist on Earth goes exploring, hourly rentals, organized major explorations, cameras, robot arm. Sample return is very expensive. Effort supported by an electronic game for practice.
Providing funeral services on the Moon. These services are varied and include burying ashes, laser engraved rock markers, cairns, and extreme long-term media (etched on silicon or sapphire blank) digital record. It includes robot burial in a granted one million year memorial. Some miners will have theological credentials to officiate. This service is very expensive for Earthers, but all lunar settlers are entitled to a funeral.
This business plan involves some of the dirtier aspects of industry, but they have been the early power source for most successful countries so maybe modern versions can give a moon colony the jump start it needs. Provide the high tech research instruments and use the moon for habitation resources.
Nuclear:Testing everything new reactors to clean up technology having your own personal biosphere could be quite useful to keeping accidents from affect anyone else (PS: would suggest railgun disposal into the sun for waste so as not to leave any nasty surprises)
Bio:Novel genetic engineering to dangerous pathogens space gives you a pretty good barrier to anything that gets out
Chem: stuff thats is little bit too toxic to have on planet earth but still potential for research. (maybe even one day produced on the moon with the waste going to space and the product to earth)
Weapons research: make sure it's out of the way and leave the ICBMs at home
Orbit debris land fill: bring some old satellites on low energy transfers "land" them on the moon and recycle for colonists. Wide open spaces needed!
Future phobias: there are bound to be things that are useful but have some serious NIMBY in the future while the moon is mostly empty it might be an idea to test them there. (would skynet have been so dangerous if it was stuck on the moon?)
 Your near-term idea here
Please fill out your own Business Plan form.
 Mid-Term Lunar Business Plan Summaries List:
Several lunar money-making ideas that fit the Mid-Term Business Scenario.
Harvesting Helium 3 for the generation of power on Earth. This effort dependents on both the success of new fusion reactors on Earth and on development of large scale volatile harvesting on the Moon. See Harrison Schmitt.
Lunar processing of ore concentrates to produce 80% plus pure element. Materials would be farther processed on Earth. Only the most valuable elements. Requires a large amount power and industrial facilities on the Moon.
Titanium, aluminum, iron to steel, and alloys, formed into beams and tubes, for construction in Earth orbit and lunar mines. Requires large amounts of power and large industrial facilities.
The manufacture of lunar glass for radiation protection of solar cells and other optical and electrical applications. Used on the Moon and in Earth orbit.
Waters and other volatiles harvested from the Cold and the Dark at the poles. Could provide large amounts of oxygen, hydrogen, ammonia. Cryogenic mining equipment is required and is completely different from regular lunar mining operations.
Retirement living on the Moon after a guaranteed one way trip. This is a life style for the extremely rich and major Company stock holder. Advanced living space and medical facility are required before this service can commence.
Ablative disks made from lunar regolith and resins shipped from Earth. Mixed is applied to a low mass structure shipped from Earth. Important for reducing the cost of returning materials to Earth but the quality control requirements are very high.
Provide fuel, oxidizer, and mass for adjusting the orbits of Earth Crossing asteroids. Throw lunar rocks at them.
Power generation and transmission to Earth. Many technical challenges to be overcome, particularly in transmission. New technologies must be invented and developed.
 Your Mid-Term idea here
Please fill out your own Business Plan form.
 Earth-Based Business Plan Summaries List:
Several down-to-Earth business ideas that are completely dependent on the existence of a lunar settlement:
 NASA Contracts
Well established practice. Critical in the astronaut time period but fading after that.
 Commercial Contractors
The design and construction of the mining and large habitat equipment needed to mine the Moon. Peaking in the miner time period but continuing indefinitely. Job generation is always of interest to politicians.
 Commercial Cryogenic Contractors
The design and construction of the specialty equipment that is needed to mine in the cold and the dark. Very special equipment will be needed to harvest this important resource.
 Helium-3 Brokerage
 Medical Isotope Manufacture
 Sales of Lunar Crafts
Broker for small items sent home by lunar settlers.
 Materials Processing
Processing industrial materials, such as ore concentrates, shipped from Moon.
 Your Earth-bound idea here
Please fill out your own Business Plan form.
 Bad Business ideas Not covered in this list:
A number of business ideas that are just plain bad and are not included on Lunarpedia. These ideas are mentioned here solely for completeness.
 Phony Land Sales
The sale of non-existent lunar land claims to gullible people on Earth just like the Lunar Embassy now does. This has been done to death.
If you are calling from the Moon, who would hang up? Even with a nearly two second round trip delay? I would.
 Marriage Services
Marriage services officiated remotely. A miner with theological or magistrate credentials presides while dressed as Elvis or a space alien.
 Confidence games
Running stock pyramids and Internet scams run over the Internet. It is going to be hard to put someone already on the Moon for life into jail.
 Real Moonshine
An alcoholic beverage is distilled on the Moon in small quantities. It is then blended and aged back on Earth. The feed stock for the still is mostly food waste.
 Cigar wrapper leaf
A high value agricultural product, cigar wrapper leaf, is grown on the Moon and sent home for processing.
 Moon Hemp
The raising of marihuana or other illegal drugs on the Moon.
 Air Shows
Demonstrations of precision flying on the Moon for the entertainment of Earth audiences. This idea involves putting on hair-raising displays of lunar lander flying that risk lives and waste fuel.
 Pirate Radio
Megawatt radio stations that blast commercials for products of dubious value back to Earth.
 XXX-rated movies in 1/6 g
Just plain bad taste.
 Your bad idea here
You do not need a business plan for ideas on this list. If you want to salvage any of these bad ideas, simply write a business plan summary then move the idea to one of the other lists.
A blank business plan summary form is available at Business Plan form.