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Question Moon Gold

Nov 25, 2019
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Would gold be present in significant amounts on the moon? If so how would it be located, and mined?
Actually come to think of it wouldn't surface found moon rock give a better return for your money anyway?
Or are there more valuable resources (versus their ease of extraction)
Personally the romantic value alone of a Moon Gold wedding ring for example would increase its value against boring old earth gold??
 
Mar 5, 2020
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Uranium was found in concentrations of more then 100 ppm in some samples returned by the Apollo astronauts from the Moon. The KREEP component (which Houston refuses to analyze properly) is largely radioactive because of the presence of uranium, not potassium.

With its vacuum and low gravity, the Moon can concentrate heavy elements like uranium in the vaporized material which does not escape the Moon’s gravity well. This mechanism is basically identical to the terrestrial mechanism which concentrates uranium in black shale. Both are driven by the temperatures generated by the impacts of interstellar asteroids.

Uranium appears to be concentrated in vast areas of the Moon’s surface. Uranium mining on the Moon could be feasible within a few decades.

Fissionable materials will be in high demand in space. Because of the Moon’s vacuum, techniques for uranium isotope enrichment could be based on simply heating uranium with solar furnaces or lasers. Large scale isotope separation using time of flight or ballistic separation becomes possible because of the conditions found on the Moon.

Based on the absolute need for fissionable materials (uranium) in space, mining uranium within the gravity well of the Moon is worth the effort.

Gold is not as useful as uranium.
 
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Nov 25, 2019
71
38
60
Uranium was found in concentrations of more then 100 ppm in some samples returned by the Apollo astronauts from the Moon. The KREEP component (which Houston refuses to analyze properly) is largely radioactive because of the presence of uranium, not potassium.

With its vacuum and low gravity, the Moon can concentrate heavy elements like uranium in the vaporized material which does not escape the Moon’s gravity well. This mechanism is basically identical to the terrestrial mechanism which concentrates uranium in black shale. Both are driven by the temperatures generated by the impacts of interstellar asteroids.

Uranium appears to be concentrated in vast areas of the Moon’s surface. Uranium mining on the Moon could be feasible within a few decades.

Fissionable materials will be in high demand in space. Because of the Moon’s vacuum, techniques for uranium isotope enrichment could be based on simply heating uranium with solar furnaces or lasers. Large scale isotope separation using time of flight or ballistic separation becomes possible because of the conditions found on the Moon.

Based on the absolute need for fissionable materials (uranium) in space, mining uranium within the gravity well of the Moon is worth the effort.

Gold is not as useful as uranium.
Many thanks Geo...
In terms of something like gold though would the geology be similar - to earth- in terms of its deposition/formation?
I realise that there isn't the erosion associated with water or wind that determine the ease of finding it, but would it be found in association with the same minerals and stratigraphy that it would here on earth?
So for instance if you were determined enough(!) what would be the pointers (either geographically or geologically) that you would look for first? … if there are any
 
Dec 29, 2019
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I would not expect any decent gold bearing ores on the moon.

Gold ores on Earth - like many other important mineral ores - are mostly formed by hydro-thermal processes; dissolved out of rock (basalts) that contain low concentrations by hot water at high pressure and carried to where conditions cause precipitation of gold sulphides, tellurides and elemental gold. It is strongly associated with tectonic plate boundaries.

Later erosion can deposit the gold within sands and silts and with water movement, the high density tends to result in the gold settling to the bottom - placer deposits.

Such conditions appear to be absent on the moon.
 
Last edited:
Nov 25, 2019
71
38
60
I would not expect any decent gold bearing ores on the moon.

Gold ores on Earth - like many other important mineral ores - are mostly formed by hydro-thermal processes; dissolved out of rock (basalts) that contain low concentrations by hot water at high pressure and carried to where conditions cause precipitation of gold sulphides, tellurides and elemental gold. It is strongly associated with tectonic plate boundaries.

Later erosion can deposit the gold within sands and silts and with water movement, the high density tends to result in the gold settling to the bottom - placer deposits.

Such conditions appear to be absent on the moon.
Fascinating - many thanks for the detailed reply
 
Feb 1, 2020
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Current belief is that the Moon was formed from a big splash when a Mars sized planet collided with Earth.

So the Moon has everything that the crust of Earth has. There is more because of asteroid collisions through the ages.

So yes, there is gold on the Moon. But on Earth we have gold deposits that were laid down by bacteria processing the elements that are randomly distributed through the ground. Water flow plays into that.

The Moon has no ground water and no bacteria that we know of. Therefore, no gold veins.

Still, as we process iron, aluminum and silicon we will get by-products. Things like gold, platinum, silver, tin, copper and so forth are all there, and the miners can accumulate these materials over time. Slag can be mined for other minerals, but you will need to have good systems to recover it.

The same is frequently true on Earth. I am aware of some copper mines where they actually pulled out more in dollar amounts in gold than they did in copper. It was less than a twentieth by weight, but in dollar amounts, the gold was sometimes worth more than the copper.

Many asteroids have sizable quantities of rare earth elements. Often more than is commonly found on Earth as a whole. Tracing those rare earths was how Scientists proved that an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs.

But without all those helpful bacteria, it takes a lot of work to get the materials.

So we are more likely to get valuable materials like semi-conductors or high tech alloys than simple gold.

Transport can be cheap from the Moon to the surface of the Earth, but is astronomically expensive from Earth to Moon.

The same problems exist for things like Tritium and iridium or Rhodium as well.
 
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Nov 25, 2019
71
38
60
Current belief is that the Moon was formed from a big splash when a Mars sized planet collided with Earth.

So the Moon has everything that the crust of Earth has. There is more because of asteroid collisions through the ages.

So yes, there is gold on the Moon. But on Earth we have gold deposits that were laid down by bacteria processing the elements that are randomly distributed through the ground. Water flow plays into that.

The Moon has no ground water and no bacteria that we know of. Therefore, no gold veins.

Still, as we process iron, aluminum and silicon we will get by-products. Things like gold, platinum, silver, tin, copper and so forth are all there, and the miners can accumulate these materials over time. Slag can be mined for other minerals, but you will need to have good systems to recover it.

The same is frequently true on Earth. I am aware of some copper mines where they actually pulled out more in dollar amounts in gold than they did in copper. It was less than a twentieth by weight, but in dollar amounts, the gold was sometimes worth more than the copper.

Many asteroids have sizable quantities of rare earth elements. Often more than is commonly found on Earth as a whole. Tracing those rare earths was how Scientists proved that an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs.

But without all those helpful bacteria, it takes a lot of work to get the materials.

So we are more likely to get valuable materials like semi-conductors or high tech alloys than simple gold.

Transport can be cheap from the Moon to the surface of the Earth, but is astronomically expensive from Earth to Moon.

The same problems exist for things like Tritium and iridium or Rhodium as well.
fantastic, many thanks
 
"So the Moon has everything that the crust of Earth has." My emphasis.

Don't you think gold / uranium heavy whatever would have concentrated towards the centre of the proto-Earth so that the Theia collision would have left the Theia remnants with somewhat less heavies, leaving Earth supplies intact.

To put it simply. Earth retained most of proto-Earth's heavy metals.
Theia remnants plus proto-Earth crust were not enriched in heavy metals.
 
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Feb 1, 2020
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"So the Moon has everything that the crust of Earth has." My emphasis.

Don't you think ...
No.
Theia was largely consumed by the then molten Earth. It sank to the core. What was left on the survace and around in Space was largely the same isotopically, according to analysis of the Moon Rocks to the geology we find on Earth today. That's how they arrived at the Theia concept.
"So the Moon has everything that the crust of Earth has." My emphasis.

Don't you think gold / uranium heavy whatever would have concentrated towards the centre of the proto-Earth so that the Theia collision would have left the Theia remnants with somewhat less heavies, leaving Earth supplies intact.

To put it simply. Earth retained most of proto-Earth's heavy metals.
Theia remnants plus proto-Earth crust were not enriched in heavy metals.
I've seen it debated. For the Earth, the answer seems to be a qualified 'Yes, but'.
You are a retired Engineer, so you know what that means, and what it's worth.
There is assumed to be more of the heavier elements as you get deeper down, only we can't go deeper down. The deepest we can recover minerals is from volcanic eruptions, and that's only about twenty miles. The regions that would have more of the more valuable minerals are Thousands of miles down, not tens. Our mining efforts seldom go more than a mile or so down.
So the real answer is that we just don't know. There are educated guesses, but they are only guesses.
 
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