Your Piece of the Pie in the Sky: A Half-Baked Thought Experiment (or) World Peace and the Seven Sextillion Dollar Rock

Who wants to be a billionaire? What if I told you that tomorrow, you could be? All you’d have to do is talk to your neighbor—who is also poised to become a billionaire—and agree to claim your billion dollars together, at the same time. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t.

Scientists have long hypothesized about the value of precious metals and other resources in space rocks. Suppose you were to learn of the discovery of a space rock valued at seven sextillion dollars. Suppose this rock belonged equally to all the people of the world. With world population approaching seven billion,i your share would be one billion dollars.

In fact, this rock exists. It’s the moon. The moon holds an abundance of helium-3, iron, and titanium, among other resources. The helium-3 alone is worth 286 quadrillion dollars.ii (Your share of the Helium-3 comes out to about $42,000,000.)

We are poised to become a space-faring species. Space law, as it stands today, prevents countries from owning and exploiting space resources for national gain.iii A strong argument can be made from existing space law that the moon and other space objects are the common heritage of humanity.iv As such, they belong to you and me. We’re billionaires already. So is everyone on the planet. And this wealth is equally distributed. And this wealth is poised to grow indefinitely. As our species continues to explore space, we will continue to share equally in its ever-growing wealth. If we act now.

You’re not a billionaire today. But you can be tomorrow. You must claim it. Actually, we must claim it. All of us must claim our heritage: all at once, together, at the same time. What happens when billions of people worldwide use cellphones and laptops to demand the limitless wealth that is our birthright? What happens when we create a true digital democracy and stand up to claim our heritage? What happens when each of the seven billion people on the planet becomes a billionaire?

Even now, nations are racing to the moon to discover its resources. Although space law prevents nations from owning and exploiting space resources for gain, it does not prevent private individuals and companies from doing so. Private individuals and private companies are already joining the race to hoard as much as they can for themselves. Already in the United States, three individuals contend that they have found a legal loophole that has allowed them to lay claim to 95% of the moon’s mineral rights.v Is it theirs? Or is it all of ours? We can allow the greed and inequity of the current economic and legal systems to spread into the solar system as we become space-farers. Alternatively, we can stand up together, all at once, to stake an equal claim to prosperity for ourselves and every person across the globe. Space is the common heritage of humanity. If we all claim this heritage together, we will each wake up tomorrow to unimaginable abundance for ourselves and our posterity.

Space-Farers, Unite!




“Reserves of helium-3 on the moon are in the order of a million tons, according to some estimates, and just 25 tons could serve to power the European Union and United States for a year.” (At current energy-consumption rates, that would power the world for 40,000 years, for those of you who hate math.) (

Energy use per capita – Primary energy use (before transformation to other end-use fuels) in kilograms of oil equivalent, per capita. 2006 = 1818kg (world)

Crude Oil – $82 / barrel

CALCULATION: Value of Lunar He3
1818 kg/person (per yr) [2006]
1.136363636 L/kg crude
2065.909091 L/person
0.006289308 barrels/L
12.99313894 barrels/person
82 $/barrel [march 2010]
1065.437393 $/person/yr
40000 yrs/lunar He3
$ 42,617,495.71 $/person of He3
6700000000 persons
$285,537,221,269,297,000.00 $ of He3


i Google global population, as of publication.

ii See Tables 1 and 2.

iii “Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”  United Nations, Outer Space Treaty, Article 2. (Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, Jan. 27, 1967, 18 U.S.T. 2410, 610 U.N.T.S. 205).

iv “The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind…” United Nations, Outer Space Treaty, Article 1. (Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, Jan. 27, 1967, 18 U.S.T. 2410, 610 U.N.T.S. 205).

v Here’s the archived version.