Lunar Ventures: Unlocking €160 Billion of Celestial Opportunity With ESA

Moon Base Concept Artist's Impression

Artist’s impression of a Moon Base concept. It features solar arrays for energy generation, greenhouses for food production, and habitats shielded with regolith. Credit: ESA – P. Carril

ESA (European Space Agency) is calling for visionary ideas for how to use a constellation of communication and navigation satellites around the Moon to establish lunar businesses – and unlock opportunities on Earth.

Hundreds of missions to the Moon are due to be launched in the coming years. To create a sustainable lunar link, ESA has initiated its Moonlight program to support space companies in Europe to create a constellation of lunar satellites. The satellites will offer communication and navigation services that could empower entrepreneurs to create innovative businesses for customers on the Moon and on Earth.

These businesses will create new jobs in Europe and around the world. Economic consultants have estimated that the total lunar revenue opportunities could be €40 billion over the next decade, rising to almost €160 billion up to 2040.

Potential Lunar Business Ventures

For example, utility companies could use lunar connectivity to remotely manage power generation, storage, and distribution infrastructure on the Moon. Mining companies could use lunar satellite positioning to accurately locate and extract water, oxygen, and hydrogen for life support and propellant, as well as mining material for building a lunar base.

Data companies could use the satellites to communicate with secure data centers on the Moon that store data in the cold conditions at the lunar poles. Entertainment companies could exploit the lunar environment for games, movies, and other leisure activities that use lunar positioning and data exchange between the Moon and Earth.

Having a long-term robotic or human presence on the Moon could require innovative services that exploit Moonlight’s capabilities. The creation of such businesses could boost the lunar economy by using commercial opportunities on Earth – from new developments in agriculture and transport to life support systems and medicine – on the Moon.

ESA’s Call for Lunar Business Ideas

ESA has today launched a competition for visionary business ideas that use lunar communication and navigation services to address customer needs on Earth and on the Moon. It expects to offer one-year contracts to develop and assess the feasibility, viability, and demand by potential customers of the ideas. The best ones may be eligible to apply for follow-on opportunities – companies are invited to become pioneers of the lunar economy by submitting their brightest ideas.

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