NEW YORK, New York – It looks like Richard Branson has more in mind than trips to outer space these days, and last week he proved it. In a sideways, almost shady deal, Branson has acquired the mineral rights to 86% of the Moon’s subsurface.
Through deals with Russia, Japan, Canada, and the United States, Branson is reported to have spent $450 Billion dollars buying up the rights, after several seismologists and an earth scientist from Wales convinced him that the potential for oil and gas on the moon was incredible.
Plans are under way to immediately schedule delivery of 2 specially modified drilling rigs to the lunar surface, followed by several crews to assemble and begin an exploration program. Apparently, the project has been secretly underway for almost 2 years, and the drilling crews and rigs, as well as payload delivery ships are already completed, docked, and ready to fly.
We had no idea he had this much gumption, or the ability to keep a secret. He completed a whole exploration program under our noses and no one even heard a whiff of it.
I think the technology is based on a bit of ours and a bit of Russian tech, with a bit of Hollywood mixed in, but it might work. Richard Branson has quite the entrepreneurial spirit so if anybody’s going to do it, it’s him. He also pays very well and his design teams and engineers are top notch. – William C. Nuckldrett, NASA
The project will run under the a division of Virgin Airlines, as the shuttles still require insurance to fly through existing airspace until they hit the actual space. The project has been developed at a large technical facility that no one knew existed in central Tibet. Far enough away from Chinese occupation to draw attention, but remote enough that all employees live there, and never left for fear of word getting out.
With all the development done, it seems he has beat the regulators and will be ready to launch in less than 4 weeks.
The target formations are unknown, and since there is no previous drilling record on the lunar surface, all bets are off as to what they will find when they start to drill. Based on speculation and what little oil and gas data there are about the Moon, several types of bits and special anti-gravity mud products are being sent up on the last of the delivery shuttles.
Once drilling has been completed in each of the first 8 wells, the equipment should have arrived to do the work overs and assess the feasibility of a 10 stage fracture completion for each well. In a low gravity environment, fracking will be the largest challenge this project will face.
I think we can all agree that fracking the moon is a bad idea. Mind you no one lives there so what the hell? If it works, he’ll be a legend. If it fails, he’ll be a legend. It’s all win-win for Branson. The drilling program alone is going to cost him about $200 million per well, why not frack it all up afterwards for double the price? If there is high pressure gas trapped under the surface up there, it might jsut be the Boom to end all Booms, if you know what I mean. – Jersey Linkladder, P. Eng., Bendovus Energy