General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

What if we knew for certain major gold deposits were on the moon, and the only obstacle was shipping costs?

Asked by Ltryptophan (11628points) April 5th, 2012

Would it just be left there until we figured out how to overcome the cost of lunar trips? Would we start a race to go scoop it up like the forty niners did?

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20 Answers

Coloma's avatar

We’d need a Fed Ex rocket and I’m not sure that mining the old fashioned way with burros to pack out the motherlode would be effective. Science would need to genetically alter donkeys and create an anti-gravity ass. lol

Ltryptophan's avatar

If anyone brings up an antigravity ass, gold is surely the topic…

funkdaddy's avatar

I think the race would be for “rights” as opposed to the gold itself.

Wherever the gold is, the only market right now is Earth, so you’d have to claim it in a legal sense before you’d worry about claiming it physically.

Coloma's avatar

There’s a 40 acre gold claim for sale nearby me right now. Stake yer claim, ;-)

wundayatta's avatar

If we knew for certain, the Orange Tree would be working overtime.

Oh. Wait. It already is working overtime.

Under the orange tree.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@wundayatta the Orange Tree? O-ther T-eam?

ETpro's avatar

There certainly should be gold on the moon in about the same quantity as on Earth. The moon is a chunk of the earth knocked from it by an impact with a very large object around 4.5 billion years ago. The likelihood is there is much more gold more easily mined in the asteroid belt.

Coloma's avatar

@ETpro Wow! I never knew that, really, amazing! 0-o

filmfann's avatar

There is Hydrogen 3 up there, and that is more valuable than gold, since it is expected to be a requirement for Fusion reactors. We will have a small mining colony with small rockets transporting the ore home. It will probably be located near one of the moons poles.
Watch the movie Moon

ETpro's avatar

@Coloma Yep. Read more here. It’s slow to load, but should pop up after a bit.

Nullo's avatar

Were it profitable enough of an enterprise, one large company could probably set up a semi-permanent residence there and build an electromagnetic catapult to lob containers of the gold ‘downhill’ for splashdown at a designated spot.
I don’t know if you would be able to shift enough gold to make the operation worthwhile, though. The stuff is heavy, and space travel is all about mass.

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo On the trip back to Earth, mass is your dearest friend.

Nullo's avatar

@ETpro On the trip, yes. On the braking and splashdown, it gets tricky. Limitations could require that only a small quantity of gold be shipped back or else be lost to the depths of the ocean – maybe target a lake? – depending on how much of what kind of container you could finagle. You’d have to re-shield the containers and ship them back, too, which will continue to be expensive and uphill.
Really, one needs more info before he could say one way or the other.
There’s also the matter of powering the thing. Heinlein’s grain catapult was powered by a nuclear reactor, but that was part of a decades-long project focused on permanently inhabiting the Moon. There would have to be a heck of a lot of gold, selling ad darn good prices, to make the operation worthwhile.

flutherother's avatar

Maybe Newt Gingrich knows something we don’t know.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Space would certainly get “more real” to Ron Paul.

ETpro's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop We’re going to need massive additional quantities of Gold when Dr. Paul puts us on the Gold Standard. Either that, or a dime’s worth would be about the size of a spec of dust..

Hunter9790's avatar

They’ve been talking about the creation of space elevators, which basically would work like an escalator. I think the holdup on that project is waiting for the technology to create an adequately strong but lightweight material- most likely a metallic web type material. This process should eliminate the need for large amounts of fuel, as the exit and entry forces of leaving and entering our atmosphere would be eliminated in this much lower speed form of conveyance.

ETpro's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop And after watching that, I am supposed to be surprised that Dr. Paul wants to return the USA to the gold standard? Wonder of wonder. Just like Mitt Romney supports dropping the tax rate on capital gains from the 15% he currently pays to 0% Paul Ryan advocates.

Inspired_2write's avatar

And then realizing that by the time we manage to obtain this Gold , that the price of Gold would be useless?

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