To those who don’t know much about the moon, they just see it as a big rock that orbits our Earth and lights up our night sky. But there is more to the moon than that which meets the eye. The moon is full of wonder, which is why you’re probably here because I suspect that a little rumor has found its way to you. A rumor that speculates that there is gold on the moon. Is this the case? If so, how much? Whatever precious materials can be found there? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know.
So, is there gold on the moon? There is, in fact, gold on the moon, underneath the lunar surface. How much gold is on the moon is unconfirmed, but it is anticipated to be a quarter of the Earth’s gold inventory, which is 244,000 metric tons. It is believed the gold arrived from asteroids that collided with the surface of the moon.
Fascinating stuff, eh?
And it gets even more interesting.
As you shall see if you keep reading!
How Much Gold Is On The Moon?
It’s hard to calculate how much gold is on the moon, but it won’t be as much as there is on Earth. As Earth is about four times bigger than the moon, we could probably guess that there will be a quarter of Earth’s gold inventory on the moon.
Well, what do you know! While we don’t know if there is life on mars, we certainly know that there is gold on the moon.
Back in 2009, during a NASA mission, a rocket slammed into the moon’s surface.
Later on, a second spacecraft traveled to investigate the blast.
Here, the crew discovered that the moon’s lunar surface contained various compounds. Included within the surface was, of course, gold!
You see, the moon is made up of various layers.
On the initial surface layers, you have the likes of iron, aluminum, titanium, magnesium, silicon, calcium, and even oxygen chilling out there.
But when you dig underneath the moon’s crust, you’ll find a mesmerizing array of compounds, and the much-coveted gold is one of them.
How much is there? Well, don’t get your hopes up. You won’t find more gold on the moon than you would on Earth; we’re blessed (or cursed, depending on your outlook on life) with an abundance of the stuff.
Now, of course, the main reason Earth has more gold than the moon is that it is so much bigger than it.
Earth is about 4 times bigger than the moon. Naturally, you will therefore find more gold on Earth than you would on the moon.
That’s not to say there isn’t much gold on the moon; there is plenty!
Enough to make a moon-targeted heist worth it, I’d say. If not for the gold, at least for the view up there, hey?
Calculating how much gold is on the moon, though, is a difficult task for various reasons, including that of we haven’t even started mining the damn thing yet!
But we do know how much gold has been found on Earth…at least roughly.
To date, approximately 244,000 metric tons of gold have been recovered on Earth.
Of course, there probably is a lot more still hiding in the Earth’s crust.
But just so you know, 244,000 metric tons is a lot, and I mean, a lot of gold.
As we’ve said already, there will be less gold on the moon because it is only a quarter of the size of Earth, approximately.
So let’s get hypothetical here.
If we know there is at least 244,000 metric tons of gold on Earth; then we can probably assume that there is likely to be around a quarter of that on the moon.
That would mean that the moon has approximately 61,000 metric tons of gold.
Quite a lot of gold, I’d say!
Why Is There Gold On The Moon?
There is gold on the moon because, over time, asteroids will have crashed into it, depositing any gold they contained into the lunar surface.
How on the moon did gold get on the moon? Did some very rich extraterrestrial pilot bury their stolen treasure on it?
Anything is possible, but I doubt this is the reason for why there is gold on the moon.
There are several reasons why gold has found its way into the moon’s lunar surface.
Throughout the moon’s existence, asteroids will have been traveling to the moon.
Not for a vacation there, just because asteroids like to crash into things for whatever reason.
And some asteroids would have crashed into the moon. Asteroids that would have carried gold.
When these asteroids slammed into the moon, did Earth’s very own nightlight waver? No sir! The moon would have stood its ground.
But the force from the impact would have ensured that the gold in the asteroid would have descended into the lunar surface.
Some might call this the most awesome display of pickpocketing of all time.
An asteroid attacks the moon, and what does it do? It survives the asteroid’s impact whilst absorbing its gold, so it becomes its own.
So asteroids have a big part to play when it comes to spreading the wealth of the universe.
Scientists believe that the closer an object is to the asteroid belt means, the more likely they are to be hit by one. Which, in turn, means they are more likely to possess vaster quantities of gold and other pressure metals over time.
Are There Other Metals On The Moon?
There are other metals on the moon, including silver, aluminum, magnesium, platinum, iron, and titanium.
Yep. It’s not just gold lurking up there. You’ll find plenty of other metals within the lunar surface as well.
You can tell which type of metals are located on the moon’s surface just by examining the shade and color of it…
For example, lighter areas on the moon contain elements that we put a slightly smaller monetary value on back here on Earth. These include aluminum, magnesium, platinum, iron, and titanium.
But you can also find other metals on the moon that have a higher monetary value, such as silver.
As far as we know, gold is still the most precious metal to have been found on the moon.
Can You Mine Gold On The Moon?
Humans can mine gold on the moon, and they have already started doing so. But it costs a lot of money to fund as highly technical equipment is required.
I’m sure that once many of you discovered that there was gold on the moon, this was naturally your next question.
Can you fly up there and start mining straight away?
After all, the gold doesn’t belong to anyone. No one lives on the moon, so who would you be stealing from?
Well, if you can find a way to travel up to the moon, mine it of its gold, then transport all that gold, which is very heavy, by the way, all the way back to you, then good for you!
That’s mightily impressive…in your imagination.
For a start, you’d need lots of gold (money) initially to fund such an expedition.
So let’s just put your space-heist ambitions aside for a moment and talk about whether humans can mine the gold on the moon at all.
Because if anyone is going to do this, it’s the people who have been traveling up to the moon and exploring it for decades. The space agencies and companies.
And the truth is that they are already at it!
Space exploration company Moon ExpressI regularly sends expeditions to the moon to mine its gold and other useful resources.
But as I’ve already alluded to, it’s costing them a pretty substantial buck just to do it. Space travel ain’t cheap, after all!
In the future, there is talk that robots will carry out these gold mining activities on the moon, which would avoid the extreme risk there is to human life.
Now you might be wondering if mining gold from the moon is a smart move.
At the end of the day, we need the moon, so we can’t mine away at it until it’s all gone.
Luckily mining gold on the moon will have very little impact.
You see, the moon has a mass of 73 quadrillion tons.
If humans were to mine and consequently remove 1 million metric tons of materials on a daily basis, it would take 220 million years to deplete just 1% of the moon’s mass.
Such a depletion would have no impact on the moon’s ability to perform its duties that we rely on.
How Much Is The Gold On The Moon Worth?
It is estimated that the gold on the Moon is worth $800,000,000,000.
Of course, this is all subject to change based on the current price of gold.
But let’s walk through how I got here.
Gold on Earth is worth $55,000 per kilo. Now gold on the moon, while still much more impressive, is still ultimately gold. So let’s assume its of the same value.
61,000 metric tons = 61,000,000 kg.
61,000,000 kg x $55,000 = $800,000,000,000.
Worth going and getting some, right?
Well, maybe not.
Although we can mine gold on the moon, at the moment, it just isn’t cost-effective.
Funding the entire expedition costs a hell of a lot of money. So much so that no profit would probably even be made.
Before gold can be mined for a profit, it needs to be made cost-effective.
On Earth, gold is worth $55,000 per kilo.
The international space station costs $4 billion a year to run.
So you do the maths! Space exploration is expensive!
Now you might be right in thinking that gold from the moon would come with an added value. Simply because, well, it’s gold from the damn moon! It’s gold from space! How cool is that?
Still, it won’t be worth enough to make any gold mining expeditions on the moon profitable.
So, there’s no life on the moon…but there is gold.
We have those crazy asteroids to thank.
But until we can find a way to make the mining of its cost-effective, obtaining gold from the moon is going to cost a lot more than it’s worth!
Other guides about the moon you may want to check out:
- Are There Diamonds On The Moon?
- Does The Moon Produce Its Own Light?
- Why Does An Astronaut Weigh Less On The Moon?
- How Many Golf Balls Are On The Moon?
- What Was The First Fruit Eaten On The Moon?
- How Many Countries Have Been To The Moon?
Hey, my name is Chris. I’m a passionate and seasoned astronomer who loves nothing more than observing the night sky. I also love researching, learning, and writing all things Space and the Universe. I created Astronomy Scope to share my knowledge, experience, suggestions, and recommendations of what I have learned along the way while helping anyone to get into and maximize their enjoyment of the hobby.