In the movie Moon, when Sam goes down to the room with all of his fellows, he finds what looks to be hundreds of people. However, if I am getting the timeline correct, then

the first Sam in the movie would have been the 5th clone on the moon because his daughter was 15 years old, and each clone has a lifespan of 3 years.

How come there were hundreds of them? It seems completely unnecessary because even in 100 years they would have only gone through 30 of them. And it seems that such a business as mining H3 off the moon would be similar to mining oil off-shore, and it probably won't last forever. So that many would just be redundant.

  • 4
    This is a major spoiler for the movie. Jun 25, 2012 at 19:27
  • Sorry about that. I changed the title to warn any innocent eyes.
    – Sponge Bob
    Jun 25, 2012 at 19:32
  • 2
    @KeeganMcCarthy and I editted to the post to the spoilers were hidden from view until mouse-overed. Jun 25, 2012 at 19:51
  • @JackBNimble Don't put the whole question in spoilers. It must be clear what the question is about even if one doesn't read the spoiler text. Please read this meta thread, and especially the post by badp that I link to. Keegan: while we try to keep major spoilers out of titles, a spoily title is better than an uninformative title.
    – user56
    Jun 25, 2012 at 20:38
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    Does Helium-3 replenish (through some chemical process)? If it does, that would require the clones to keep functioning for a long time. Jun 25, 2012 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


Mining is a dangerous business even here on earth, and more so on the moon. Accidental death is frequent. Each clone has a maximum lifespan of three years, but likely on average it's much shorter. So, more clones are needed as replacement workers.

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    After all, the whole reason Sam discovered the cloning in the first place was that a new clone was awakened because a previous clone had had a lunar vehicle accident.
    – Kyralessa
    Jun 25, 2012 at 22:32

The project was meant to be self-sustaining for as long as possible. The more replacements they could pack in, the better I would think. The cost of taking a space flight to the moon (for repairs or replacements or what-not) must be expensive, so it would make more sense economically to plan for a near-indefinite time span.

For all we know,

creating a Sam clone could have been really easy, and cheap enough where the clones could be created without much financial risk (should the project, say, come to an end sooner than the clones ran out).

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