Interplanetary commerce

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A child's fantasy of rockets to Mars

Interplanetary commerce offers unique benefits and challenges compared to inter-settlement commerce and intra-settlement commerce. For the purpose of this article, interplanetary commerce includes moons like Luna and dwarf planets like Ceres.

Business ideas including a Martian settlement may help to involve terrestrial companies in the process of making such a settlement financially affordable. While terrestrial government budgets are usually spent for terrestrial expenditures, private companies may be able to spent large amounts of money in a Martian commercial project if large revenues can be expected. The entertainment industry, for example, finances blockbuster movies with more than 100 million US dollars ("The Lord of the Rings" from Peter Jackson: 190,000,000 US dollars). So, with a proper business idea, the private industry is a good focus for fund raising.


Interplanetary commerce allows for the introduction of ideas, goods and resources that may be unavailable or prohibitively expensive from a native source.


Cost of Transportation

The cost to transport an item will be many times the cost on earth of most items, often orders of magnitude greater. At least initially, only the smaller and more vital goods will be shipped: those that have the highest value per the lowest mass. Non-physical things, such as information, incur only the cost of a radio link.


Distances between the planets an Luna are always changing, requiring precise calculations for accurate transport.


Mercury-Mars Trade

Mercury has similar gravity to Mars, so engeneering solutions developed on Mars may be applicable to Mercurial outposts.

Venus-Mars Trade

Trade between Venus and Mars is unlikely in the forseable future. Commerce will likely be restricted to information and some vital goods.

Earth-Mars Trade

Main article: Earth-Mars Trade

Earth-Mars trade will be the first type of interplanetary commerce established by Martian settlements.

Luna-Mars Trade

Main article: Luna-Mars Trade

Trade with Earth's moon could involve selling resources such as carbon, nitrogen, and other volatiles which are in short supply on Luna. The cost of transport from Mars is potentially less than from Earth, but potentially more than from Ceres and other asteroids, because of the relative sizes of the gravity fields. However, the cost of setting up a colony on Ceres may be more than the cost of setting up one on Mars. So the cost of obtaining exports from the raw materials and shipping them out may be less on Mars than on Ceres because of the human labor on hand to smooth out the operations.

Ceres-Mars Trade

Ceres is a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt. It is a possible location for a human outpost. It is a possible hub for asteroid mining efforts. Ceres is thought to have significant amounts of volatiles. The escape velocity of both Mars and Ceres are favorable. Commerce between Ceres and Mars may involve information, resources, and martian manufactured goods.

Jovian Moon-Mars Trade

By the time the Jovian Moons are settled, Mars will probably be well developed, and in a prime position to supply the Jovian colonies with technology and manufactured goods.

See Also

Lunarpedia Business Ideaslunarp Many of these ideas also apply to a martian settlement.