It isn't how much land you get that matters. It is how many dollars it is worth!
The surface of a sphere is four times pi times the square of its radius. The Moon's mean radius is 1080 miles so its surface area is 14,657,415 square miles. One acre = .001562 square miles, so the lunar surface has approximately 9,383,748,198 acres. (Mars, by the way, has almost 35 and a half billion acres.)
So how much could those 9.38 billion Lunar acres be worth in dollars? First, let's figure the absolute minimum, worst case dollar value. It seems a more than reasonable floor to assume that REAL Lunar deeds would - at the very least - be worth no less than the proven market price of phony ones.
Since 1980 a man by the name of Dennis Hope has made a small fortune selling Lunar "deeds". He simply announced that he had claimed the Moon, set up his own "Lunar Embassy", and has sold unrecognized Lunar land "deeds" for $15.99 an acre ($18.49 if you want your name printed on the deed). Many people buy these "deeds" even though there is no way to get there, and nothing can be done with them. Dennis Hope has sold over 1.1 million of these "properties" to people in 165 countries, according to Greg Nemitz, Hope's former "National Marketing Director" (and, not surprisingly, the most determined opponent of requiring "use and occupancy" before claiming Lunar land.)
So Hope has proven beyond doubt - by selling so very many of these "deeds" all over the world at $15.99 per acre, - that real deeds, recognized by the US and actually accessible by a then-existing commercial space line - would certainly be worth no less than $15.99/acre.
15.99 times 9,383,748,198 acres = $150,046,133,679. That is over $150 billion dollars - absolute minimum worst -case value.
Of course, US government recognized land would be worth many times more per acre. For example, at $260 per acre it would be $2.4 trillion. At $500 per acre it would be $4.7 trillion. Even at only $100 it would be $938,374,819,756.00, almost a trillion dollars.
A trillion dollars would likely be much more than the necessary incentive, so the Institute proposes recognizing claims of no more than 4% of that - 600,000 square miles - but if need be, the size of the recognition could be increased up to whatever it took - up to that limit of $938 Billion dollars. Do you think a chance to win a "prize" worth almost a Trillion Dollars would be enough to interest Boeing or Lockheed? Further, much can be done to increase the value of that land over time.
First, the dollar value of an acre of lunar land goes up exponentially the day buyers can actually buy a ticket and go there, or send a representative or a customer. That means the value of the land goes up exponentially if we hold it back until there is a space line going back and forth.
The value of the land claim can be similarly increased if we capitalize on the media coverage of a space ship taking off to try to win the race to establish the first human settlement on the Moon. The day people land on the Moon, set up permanent habitation, and stay there while the ship goes back for more people, they will be the whole world's heroes -- on every TV screen and front page on Earth! Trips to and from the moon will be terribly expensive at first. But deeds to small parcels within the vast area around a settlement will be much more affordable. People around the globe will have a chance to buy those deeds as a way to support the project, or just feel part of the excitement.
Then, and only then, will a lunar land claim reach the multi-billion dollar value that would make a real difference, enough to justify even the billions it took to win it.
Note: The first 25 FAQs below are reprinted from the Space Settlement Initiative website.
The FAQs above cover basic questions about Lunar Land Claims Recognition. The following questions address more advanced issues.
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