Government Maps the Terrain for Private Enterprise

There is fundamentally no business case for private enterprise to advance a space frontier. When you advance a frontier, you are making mistakes that the capital markets choose not to value. You have to create patents to enable things that you don't know will work. Anytime you are the first person to do something on that scale, the history of human civilization has demonstrated that the only funding available to do that via governance.

And so what then happens is the patents get issued. The Government figures out how to do it. They make it sort of routine but their innefficient because it's the government. Then you seed it to private enterprise.

The Dutch East India Trading Company [was] not the agency that found America from Europe. That was Columbus funded by Queen Isabella. There was Magellan also funded by Spain. They laid the groundwork to find out where to go, does the Earth have an edge or not, is it something worth doing. Then, behind them, the Dutch East India Trading Company came to conduct business. In a way safer than could have possibly been economically justified had they been the first to do it.

You look at the railroads that cross the United States. Newt Gingrich mentioned that as entrepreneurs leading the way, but he neglected the fact that Lewis and Clark got there first on a major funded expedition under the Jefferson Administration.

So you lay out the land, you map the rivers, you map the terrain. Then you've got an understanding of what the risks are for the capital markets to then value. Then they come in behind.

So I see any participation of the private enterprise in Space Exploration, not the first ones to go to Mars, not even to go back to the Moon, but to make our access to low-Earth orbit the efficiently-costed exercise that it really should have been at the beginning of the shuttle but was never realized.


Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how government explores and maps out the terrain before private enterprise comes along behind after the costs and risks have been determined.

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 TAM 2011 Panel: Our Future In Space
Proceedings of Meetings and Symposia>Conference Session:  Tyson, Nye, Krauss, Gay, Phil (19 October 2011 ), TAM 2011 Panel: Our Future In Space, James Randi Foundation, Las Vegas, Retrieved on 2011-10-29
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: space space exploration astronomy funding experts panel discussion


    01 JAN 2012

     The Government Can Send Us to Mars

    Space Exploration Costs the Same as Exploring the World > Additional Support/Evidence > Government Maps the Terrain for Private Enterprise
    The Federal Government does the exploration, maps out the territory as it always has, and the cost would be proportionally the same as what it cost Europe to explore the New World.