Community > Forum > Perception, Barriers & Regulation of Privatized Space Travel > Can Private Space Travel Take us to Mars?

Can Private Space Travel Take us to Mars?

Posted by: Senior Von Braun - Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:38 am
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 77 posts ] 
Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Can Private Space Travel Take us to Mars? 
Author Message
Space Walker
Space Walker
User avatar
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2003 5:34 am
Posts: 126
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Post Can Private Space Travel Take us to Mars?   Posted on: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:38 am
I am a very adamant supporter of private space travel. While governments somehow fail to see any reason to launch humans into space the private sector appears that it will rejuvinate the field with activity that wasn't there after Apollo. However, there's one problem with private space travel. It's all driven by money. No cash, no flight.

That's not a problem from here to GEO, there's a ripe market of scientists, satelite users, and tourists that will keep the green flowing into the funds of private companies. Concievably, there could be a market for the moon, too, especially after infrastructure is implaced and there's a need for much cheaper raw materials in space. However, it's hard to picture a financial return for a Mars mission.

It's so expensive to go to Mars tourism is out, so that leaves scientists alone for a market. The problem is that you don't see very many scientists with a few $billion spend to travel to another planet. The only way I see money returning is through extensive fund-raising. Perhaps people's names could be sent there, and for $100 or so you can buy a gram of Mars rocks, at that rate, if you returned 1,000 kilos of rocks you'd make $10 million, which is still a negligable amount of the total cost. The only way companies will find it profitable is if the cost of a trip is reduced to a few $100 million, and that will take some doing.

Does anyone have any other ideas on how to make money off a Mars mission? I'm looking for the serious kind of thinking here, not the wishful kind.

_________________
"Yes, that series of words I just said made perfect sense!"
-Professor Hubert Farnsworth


Back to top
Profile WWW
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 844
Location: New York, NY
Post Re: Can Private Space Travel Take us to Mars?   Posted on: Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:52 am
i think there is no doubt that mars missions will be profitable, but i also think that there is no way they will be within at least 20 years. the only really good way to get to mars that we can pull off now is with nuclear propulsion, which hasn't been used for human spaceflight yet by anyone. once we actually have a useable means of nuclear propulsion that isn't prohibitively expensive (concievable even with current technology), prices for a trip to mars will go down astronomically. obviously any vehicle used to go there would have to be reusable, so after construction costs (which would be very high) all that is left is maintinance and fuel, which would be comparatively low, especially since there would have to be relatively cheap orbital flight for this mission to be even concievable. beyond that, Mars offers tons of potential high adventure expeditions for tourists, mining of completely untapped resource deposits on a planet that probably has materials we don't even know of yet, a relatively similar gravity and lots of water for a colony, and is further out in the solar system so thusly is a better place for sending expeditions to potentially more lucrative places (asteroid belt, jupiter, etc).


Back to top
Profile
avatar
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2003 6:35 pm
I don't see any profitability at all in a Mars trip. How can you make such a statement? I don't see too many billionares around waiting in line to invest in such a venture or pay for a "high adventure" journey with a round trip of at least a year. As for that matter, what kind of profits do you see in the asteroid belt? Do you have any clue as to how much this would cost and for what benefit? Space mining will not have any viability for hundreds of years.


Back to top
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 844
Location: New York, NY
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2003 8:46 pm
Spacebull wrote:
I don't see any profitability at all in a Mars trip. How can you make such a statement? I don't see too many billionares around waiting in line to invest in such a venture or pay for a "high adventure" journey with a round trip of at least a year.


not true, and not now. with nuclear propulsion, the round trip would be 6 months travel at most. it would be expensive, but you wouldn't have to be a billionair to afford it, and after all, mars potentially can offer the best high adventure trips in the solar system. before steam power came about, rich people spent large amounts of money on trips to the new world. of course, going to mars is significantly more expensive, but the transit time and risks are similar.

also, i know that asteroid belt mining can't compare to near-earth asteroid mining if you're shipping the materials back to earth, but for a construction base nearer to mars or jupiter, it's a lot better to mine the materials near to it. i know that a mars trip won't be profitable for at least 20 years, but if you can build a reusable vehicle with a transit time of 3 months or less one way, which you can, then it can be profitable.


Back to top
Profile
avatar
Post    Posted on: Mon Dec 15, 2003 10:23 pm
Quote:
it would be expensive, but you wouldn't have to be a billionair to afford it,


You are living in a fantasy world and have no idea of the value of money. The shuttle costs a couple hundred million each time it launches. And it's been around for 20+ years. How is a non-existent mars mission going to be developed for anything less than 10s of billions of dollars?

I see your type of reasoning as a common problem with space enthusiasts. They have great pie in the sky ideas, but very little grounding in fiscal reality. This idealism tends to turn off serious investors. But something like the X Prize is a very realistic goal and will pave the way for commercially viable space missions. That's why I support it, but commercially funded Mars missions and the like are pure fantasy now (and probably 20 years from now too).


Back to top
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 844
Location: New York, NY
Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 16, 2003 12:10 am
Bullspace wrote:
Quote:
it would be expensive, but you wouldn't have to be a billionair to afford it,


You are living in a fantasy world and have no idea of the value of money. The shuttle costs a couple hundred million each time it launches. And it's been around for 20+ years. How is a non-existent mars mission going to be developed for anything less than 10s of billions of dollars?

I see your type of reasoning as a common problem with space enthusiasts. They have great pie in the sky ideas, but very little grounding in fiscal reality. This idealism tends to turn off serious investors. But something like the X Prize is a very realistic goal and will pave the way for commercially viable space missions. That's why I support it, but commercially funded Mars missions and the like are pure fantasy now (and probably 20 years from now too).


i'm not saying it's likely, and i'm not saying original production prices wouldn't be several 10s of billions of dollars, but consider that this would NOT be an atmospheric ship. obviously this is postulating that cheap orbital spaceflight is possible (x-prize will make suborbital so, so in 20 years that's not unreasonable) and that there are nuclear reactors light enough for space, which is more of an uncertainty. if those two things are true (i'd consider the first likely and the second possible, but not likely), then a profitable mars mission is not infeasible, though it would require either an aerospace giant or government funding to do. consider that any mission, especially at the start, would have several purposes. maybe it would carry a couple rich tourists ($10-$20 million a ticket probably), a scientific mission, and some random fund raising stuff (like the send your name to mars thing earlier in the post) and it would bring back the tourists and a bunch of mars rocks to sell on earth. don't get hung up on the price of the shuttle, that's what the x-prize is all about proving wrong.


Back to top
Profile
avatar
Post Sad as it is..   Posted on: Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:25 am
Sad though it may be, Mars may be out of reach for any single nation.
With defense spending and budgets ratcheting up around the world, and terrestrial concerns like food and medicine.. it may be the only way to get to Mars is to pool knowledge and resources. China is going to the Moon so the US is going to find a way to get there first..make no mistake .
Its a lunar mission first . Mars will be held out as a pie in the sky, the lunar highground with nuclear weapons will be held by the country that has the political will to reach for it... For 30 years we have lacked the resolve or reason... CHINA has just become that reason.
We dont care why... We just want to fly!


Back to top
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:22 pm
Posts: 844
Location: New York, NY
Post Re: Sad as it is..   Posted on: Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:07 pm
Stanley Bernard wrote:
Sad though it may be, Mars may be out of reach for any single nation.
With defense spending and budgets ratcheting up around the world, and terrestrial concerns like food and medicine.. it may be the only way to get to Mars is to pool knowledge and resources. China is going to the Moon so the US is going to find a way to get there first..make no mistake .
Its a lunar mission first . Mars will be held out as a pie in the sky, the lunar highground with nuclear weapons will be held by the country that has the political will to reach for it... For 30 years we have lacked the resolve or reason... CHINA has just become that reason.
We dont care why... We just want to fly!


i can agree with that. the first mars mission will be a colossal undertaking and may not be possible for any single nation without a complete rethinking of the military/science budget.


Back to top
Profile
Spaceflight Trainee
Spaceflight Trainee
avatar
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 30
Post    Posted on: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:47 pm
I think you fail to realize one thing. The government does not have a concept of profit. Therefore, it does not care about cost. Private businesses do have interest in keeping down costs, because they are trying to make profits. The government has had little incentive in going much beyond its shuttle program, so there isn't much going on there. The purpose of the XPrize is to provide incentives to find lower-cost ways of going into space. It looks like it's already working.

I agree with you about investors not being interested, but that is because it has yet shown itself to be viable. I believe in the next decade there will be more investors and more money. We are much closer to private space flight than at any time before.

Regarding the colonization of the Moon, Mars, etc., the colonization of the Moon is very viable initially. There are many resources such as platinum (which I hear is the best metal to use for hydrogen fuel cells) that can be mined on the moon. The moon is not terribly far and with technologies already developed and to be developed, setting up trade routes between the Moon and Earth would not be difficult. If you think it impossible for private industry to set something that complicated up, then look at how the Internet, phone lines, the coordination between those who set up oil wells and those who put the gas in the pump for you to get and everyone in between, roads, etc., got set up. There may have been government help in between, but a lot of it was private initiative. I am confident the same will happen in this case.

After that, people may start looking longingly to Mars, and there will be prizes to build fast spaceships to make trips between (at least) the Moon and Mars viable. (Such a trip presumably would be easier than one between Earth and Mars.) I offer you to consider these points of view.

Bullspace wrote:
Quote:
it would be expensive, but you wouldn't have to be a billionair to afford it,


You are living in a fantasy world and have no idea of the value of money. The shuttle costs a couple hundred million each time it launches. And it's been around for 20+ years. How is a non-existent mars mission going to be developed for anything less than 10s of billions of dollars?

I see your type of reasoning as a common problem with space enthusiasts. They have great pie in the sky ideas, but very little grounding in fiscal reality. This idealism tends to turn off serious investors. But something like the X Prize is a very realistic goal and will pave the way for commercially viable space missions. That's why I support it, but commercially funded Mars missions and the like are pure fantasy now (and probably 20 years from now too).

_________________
--Rabid Kagura (from Inuyasha) fan


Back to top
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:23 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Post Private space travels indeed might play a significant role.   Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 12:59 pm
1. Suborbital spacecrafts may be used for a Mars mission if modified for landing on Mars and start form Mars as well as Earth - provided all flights are exclusively between orbit and surface.

2. Private space travels may be inducing financial streams into space activities stronger than NASA budgets -
especially if the government acts as recommended by the Aldridge commission and in turn don't increase tax
rates or reduces them very slightly.

3. A spacecraft meeting the requirements of a Mars mission might be given usability for private space travels to the moon to be offered by space travel enterprises at the markets. In this case the spacecraft partly may be managed by such enterprises at the mission to mars too.

Such a spacecraft may serve as a space station too - a hotel for private space travels to the orbit.

4. Private space travels may cause the evolution of an infrastructure in space which is needed for and aimed at the
the prevention of icreases or the reduction of flight and travel costs as well as to gain chances to increase the
profits.

5. Forced by the requirements of the space travel markets enterprises will search for new ways of to reduce costs and/or to increase revenues by economical efficiency.

6. Increases of the number of private space travels might lead to an amount of flights sufficient to realize economies of scale and/or scope.

7. Space travels will increase the public acceptance for Mars missions because the public doesn't be excluded from space travels anymore.

Do you miss additional points to be accounted in this list? Please add them.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:26 am
Posts: 180
Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 1:01 pm
Once we have a colony on the moon a colony on mars could be achieved shortly.

Right now our goal is to get into orbit, the next goal is to get a manufacturing base in space including, a colony on the moon and hopefully mining of some near east asteriods.

Now how to get a colony on mars privately....

A private science group could pay for exploration-kind of like Carl Sagans planetary society. (this is assuming we have an industrial base in space and on the moon already.)

A religious group could put up the money for a colony.

With a base established on the moon, space businesses would think of expanding settlement mining etc.


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2003 8:23 am
Posts: 195
Location: Lincoln, England
Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 5:51 pm
I agree with Texan. Basically, private companies are pushing the present boundaries. Once those boundaries are no longer, then the challenge moves on. Mars here we come!

_________________
Sean Girling

Snowmen fall from Heaven unassembled.


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:26 am
Posts: 180
Post    Posted on: Mon Jun 28, 2004 7:06 pm
That is near earth asteroids not "near east" asteroids.
:oops:


Back to top
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:25 am
Posts: 161
Location: DFW, Texas
Post Can Private Space Travel Take us to Mars?   Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:51 am
There is one overlooked aspect of private space expansion to Mars or the Moon or asteriods. Private property rights.

The incentive to explore, expand and populate new regions on Earth has been the recognition of private property rights. From the US to China, private property rights are recognized. The same must be true in space.

But there are those who cling to the socialist notion that space belongs to everyone. If we accept this notion, it will take hundreds of years to colonize Mars.

Your choice :wink:

I for one would like to live and work on Mars or the Moon. 8)

_________________
"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."
P.J. O'Rourke


Back to top
Profile
Moderator
Moderator
avatar
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 11:23 am
Posts: 3745
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:13 am
traveler, you're right,

"Private property rights" are the "drive" behind the forces set free by XPRIZE, private space travels, enterprises and teams constructing private spacecrafts.

Without private property rights the arguments and statements I myself have posted in this message board would be missing their basis.

In german fores I am arguing since longer times on this basis - but only a few participants get the point.

Private property rights set free forces needed to reach Mars, to settle on Monn und Mars and to reach and settle on other planets and moons. They are needed to induce technological development required for improvements of spacecrafts, stations and more.

The US - seen from Germany and my view - have been shown very much respect to private property rights in the past, they do that presently and I am sure the will be doing that in future too. May be the US are the country where the conditions for the evolution of private space markets are the best in the world.

Thank you for that statement.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


Back to top
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 77 posts ] 
Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use