The Government Can Send Us to Mars

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.

Folksonomies: socialism space exploration exploration colonization

Space Exploration Costs the Same as Exploring the World

The Solar System is much vaster than the Earth, but the speeds of our spacecraft are, of course, much greater than the speeds of the sailing ships of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The spacecraft trip from the Earth to the Moon is faster than was the galleon trip from Spain to the Canary Islands. The voyage from Earth to Mars will take as long as did the sailing time from England to North America; the journey from Earth to the moons of Jupiter will require about the same time as did the voyage from France to Siam in the eighteenth century. Moreover, the fraction of the gross national product of the United States or the Soviet Union that is being expended even in the more costly manned space programs is just comparable to the fraction of the gross national product spent by England and France in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries on their exploratory ventures by sailing ships. In economic terms and in human terms, we have performed such voyages before!


Europe spent as much money proportionally to discover America as it would cost us to venture to Mars.

Folksonomies: economics space exploration

Additional Support/Evidence

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.

Folksonomies: politics communism capitalism socialism space exploration funding private enterprise