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Thread: Humans to Mars equals $450 billion dollars

  1. #31
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    There have been long-term health issues, many of them more in the category of annoying than serious, with long-term microgravity. I suspect -- and Grant can correct me -- that medications may have the potential to reverse most of those.

    Radiation may well be the most intractable problem, but the [sufficiently] closed environmental control system may be the one system to require the most time and effort to validate.

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  2. #32
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    It isn't like that 450 billion is being wasted. It is a way to have aerospace companies provide weapon-free jobs. F-35 is expected to cost 1.5 Trillion in total lifecycle costs.

    Mars is a bargain.

  3. #33
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    Robert Zubrin's plan is $6 billion, IIRC.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Robert Zubrin's plan is $6 billion, IIRC.
    Zubrin needs a reality check. I've read some of his plans; he uses a lot of handwavium.

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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetaDust View Post
    Why? We have had several people stay long term on the ISS. They did recover just fine.

    -- Dennis
    They did not recover just fine. Long-term microgravity exposure degrades the vision of 80% of astronauts, some permanently:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...=.15c0c4c821ce
    http://www.sciencealert.com/we-final...-mars-missions

    There are also other unresolved health risks: http://www.sciencealert.com/mars-bou...ronic-dementia

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    My impression is that the radiation is the really big problem, not the weightlessness. The ISS is somewhat shielded.
    The atmosphere of Mars provides better shielding. The best solution in the short term is to reduce the transit time for the manned missions, which minimizes time spent exposed to high radiation levels in transit as well as exposure to microgravity. Transit times of down to a few months are doable without exotic propulsion technologies such as nuclear rockets (which would themselves have radiation shielding issues).

    As for the environmental control, the technology we use on the ISS is sufficient for a Mars landing. A large scale permanent presence will require more sophisticated systems, but it is much further off, and will also be able to make use of local resources instead of being reliant on imports from Earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Mendenhall View Post
    What a pleasant surprise !! Thank you !
    Well now you have someone else that agrees with your estimate.

    http://time.com/money/4765718/travel...-cost-tourism/

    At this point, what would it cost to send someone to Mars?

    Pascal Lee: The Apollo lunar landing program cost $24 billion in 1960s dollars over 10 years. That means NASA set aside 4 percent of U.S. GDP to do Apollo. To put things in perspective, we also spent $24 billion per year at the Defense Department during the Vietnam War. So basically, going to the moon with funding spread over 10 years cost the same to run the Department of Defense for one year in wartime.

    Now, 50 years, later, today’s NASA budget is $19 billion a year; that's only 0.3 percent of GDP, so that’s less than 10 times less than what it was in the 1960s.

    Meanwhile, the Department of Defense gets $400 billion a year. So the number I find believable, and this is somewhat a matter of opinion, a ballpark figure, doing a human mission to Mars “the government way” could not cost less than $400 billion. And that was going to the moon. This is going to Mars, so you multiply that by a factor of 2 or 3 in terms of complexity, you’re talking about $1 trillion, spread over the course of the next 25 years.

  8. #38
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    I think that Zubrin, especially, is, to be very generous, optimistic. More likely, he's just got no idea how much aerospace systems cost. The OP was quite rude about the people who generated the $450 billion estimate; I hope that was due to youth and enthusiasm. Aircraft cost serious money to develop; the words "commercial space flight" isn't a magic phrase that makes technical problems go away unless, like Lord Russell one believes in magical thinking.

    Start with http://www.dept.aoe.vt.edu/~mason/Mason/ACiCost.html and https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/aeronaut...es_willcox.pdf

    Then, study:
    https://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/...tdevcosts.html
    http://www.airbusa380.net/airbus-a380-development.html
    http://247wallst.com/aerospace-defen...s-250-million/
    http://www.seattletimes.com/business...op-32-billion/
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...report-367504/
    https://www.quora.com/Aircraft-How-m...t-personal-jet
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2017-May-10 at 08:40 AM.

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  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorn View Post
    Hello. When I read 'reputable' people telling these stories..they are just that stories. Basically they are trying to sell you a bill of goods.

    No one in there right mind would really think it cost's this much. If it does..then the cost's should be spread out over 100 years. Still I think such people are 'crooks'...?

    Any people who make such claims are insane or should be committed.

    Thanks
    G

    P.S. One of my other points is...I think the price can definitely be much lower and should be 40+ years after Apollo. If people think not...than I can say..well..FORGET about your Mars mission. Unless of course you can pay for it yourself.
    How much does a non-insane person like yourself think it should cost?
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare part View Post
    How much does a non-insane person like yourself think it should cost?
    spare part,

    Please leave out the adjectives describing other members. I've already warned Gorn about his post.
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  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    The atmosphere of Mars provides better shielding. The best solution in the short term is to reduce the transit time for the manned missions, which minimizes time spent exposed to high radiation levels in transit as well as exposure to microgravity. Transit times of down to a few months are doable without exotic propulsion technologies such as nuclear rockets (which would themselves have radiation shielding issues).

    As for the environmental control, the technology we use on the ISS is sufficient for a Mars landing. A large scale permanent presence will require more sophisticated systems, but it is much further off, and will also be able to make use of local resources instead of being reliant on imports from Earth.
    The system on the ISS may not be sufficient for getting there, as it relies on regular, fairly frequent deliveries of consumables, including oxygen and the chemicals used for atmospheric scrubbing. It is, of course, physically possible to carry enough consumables for the multi-year journey there and back again -- RN warships during the Napoleonic Wars and Wars of the French Revolution routinely carried six months of stores for crews in the hundreds -- but the question becomes whether it's a practical solution. Those warships didn't carry six months of water, nor did they need to worry about oxygen, air purification (well, with the hatches battened down, the air belowdecks may have been a bit unpleasant.....), or waste disposal.

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  12. #42
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    It's not straight cost in any event. To get humans to Mars, technologies will be developed that don't currently exist and these will undoubtedly have applications on Earth. The technological (and managerial) advances that were made during the Apollo era provided a significant return. To get to Mars will require similar advances.

    And then there is the intangible benefit - an act such as putting people on Mars will have a huge value in bring us together as a species. imho, humanity is in a very dark place presently. Just as Apollo did, landing a human on Mars will act as a uniting force for our sad little species to grasp a future that currently many don't believe can exist. For that, the price tag is a bargain.

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    The international effort needed to rescue the colonists would probably show that we can cooperate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGN Fuel View Post

    And then there is the intangible benefit - an act such as putting people on Mars will have a huge value in bring us together as a species. imho, humanity is in a very dark place presently. Just as Apollo did, landing a human on Mars will act as a uniting force for our sad little species to grasp a future that currently many don't believe can exist. For that, the price tag is a bargain.
    Well said. Also--a lot of what folks call pork is just the price for keeping tribal knowledge about spaceflight alive. NASA's budget needs to be doubled in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Well said. Also--a lot of what folks call pork is just the price for keeping tribal knowledge about spaceflight alive. NASA's budget needs to be doubled in my opinion.
    Pork is usually used as perjorative, so it's defined as any spending the speaker dislikes.

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  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    The system on the ISS may not be sufficient for getting there, as it relies on regular, fairly frequent deliveries of consumables, including oxygen and the chemicals used for atmospheric scrubbing. It is, of course, physically possible to carry enough consumables for the multi-year journey there and back again -- RN warships during the Napoleonic Wars and Wars of the French Revolution routinely carried six months of stores for crews in the hundreds -- but the question becomes whether it's a practical solution. Those warships didn't carry six months of water, nor did they need to worry about oxygen, air purification (well, with the hatches battened down, the air belowdecks may have been a bit unpleasant.....), or waste disposal.
    The ISS goes months between scheduled resupplies and carries ample reserves sufficient to survive multiple lost shipments with a full crew. Nothing new is required for a simple Mars landing in that respect. The problem of supplies is trivial in comparison to the issues involved in actually landing people, providing habitation on the surface, and bringing them back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    The ISS goes months between scheduled resupplies and carries ample reserves sufficient to survive multiple lost shipments with a full crew. Nothing new is required for a simple Mars landing in that respect. The problem of supplies is trivial in comparison to the issues involved in actually landing people, providing habitation on the surface, and bringing them back.
    There are twelve support flights to the ISS every year (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/new...-contract.html).

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  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    There are twelve support flights to the ISS every year (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/new...-contract.html).
    Agree with you that ISS requires one supply ship per month.

    Waiting to see if the Chinese having one module dedicated to food production and oxygen generation will be able to reduce the rate for their space station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    There are twelve support flights to the ISS every year (http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/new...-contract.html).
    ...no, there aren't. For example, last year there were 2 Cygnus missions, 2 Dragons, 3 Progress missions (one of which failed), and a HTV, for 7 successful missions. There were 10 scheduled missions and 2 failures in 2015, with almost 3 months between CRS-6 and Progress M-28M, which didn't unduly stretch their supplies. 10 flights in 2014 with one failure, only 8 flights total in 2013, 8 in 2012...and even without failures, these resupply missions are not evenly spread through the year. Progress MS-01 was launched on December 21 of 2015, Cygnus CRS OA-6 on March 22 of 2016.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    ...no, there aren't. For example, last year there were 2 Cygnus missions, 2 Dragons, 3 Progress missions (one of which failed), and a HTV, for 7 successful missions. There were 10 scheduled missions and 2 failures in 2015, with almost 3 months between CRS-6 and Progress M-28M, which didn't unduly stretch their supplies. 10 flights in 2014 with one failure, only 8 flights total in 2013, 8 in 2012...and even without failures, these resupply missions are not evenly spread through the year. Progress MS-01 was launched on December 21 of 2015, Cygnus CRS OA-6 on March 22 of 2016.
    Those failures were sufficiently worrisome that NASA and the ISS consortium were considering evacuating the station.

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  21. #51
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    Hello..sorry...my point is..there is a gigantic difference between 109 billion and 450 billion.

    Thanks
    Gorn

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Those failures were sufficiently worrisome that NASA and the ISS consortium were considering evacuating the station.
    No, they weren't. They specifically stated that they had sufficient reserves of supplies. The talk about evacuation was speculation from third parties.

  23. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorn View Post
    Hello. When I read 'reputable' people telling these stories..they are just that stories. Basically they are trying to sell you a bill of goods.

    No one in there right mind would really think it cost's this much. If it does..then the cost's should be spread out over 100 years. Still I think such people are 'crooks'...?

    Any people who make such claims are insane or should be committed.

    Thanks
    G

    P.S. One of my other points is...I think the price can definitely be much lower and should be 40+ years after Apollo. If people think not...than I can say..well..FORGET about your Mars mission. Unless of course you can pay for it yourself
    In the future, I recommend you take little time to find out how much aerospace hardware costs before making accusations of perfidy, insanity, or incompetence. There is great difference between 109 and 450 billion, but it is also quite well known that most costing models tend to under-predict the amount of money and time leading-edge projects require. Check out, among others, the 787 and the RB211 programs. Now, with the recent news that the radiation hazard may be worse than previously thought, any manned Mars program has another, or at least a more severe, problem to deal with. How much will that cost?

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  24. #54
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    I'm quoting myself to add some more.

    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    In the future, I recommend you take little time to find out how much aerospace hardware costs before making accusations of perfidy, insanity, or incompetence. There is great difference between 109 and 450 billion, but it is also quite well known that most costing models tend to under-predict the amount of money and time leading-edge projects require. Check out, among others, the 787 and the RB211 programs. Now, with the recent news that the radiation hazard may be worse than previously thought, any manned Mars program has another, or at least a more severe, problem to deal with. How much will that cost?
    A number of people, usually "enthusiasts," have tended to handwave cost and schedule concerns away, frequently by saying the costs are all the fault of NASA. Since we don't live in an objectivist world, were human lives can be thrown away on a magnate's whim (don't argue; just read histories written about the people who worked in the factories, not those who owned them), there will need to be tests, actual, physical, objectively witnessed, tests for everything, some of which will fail, forcing redesign. The miracle of additive machining largely fails on anything requiring high strength or good surfaces.

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  25. #55
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    Including the research and development part, how much does NOT requiring a return trip reduce the cost?
    Depending on whom you ask, everything is relative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkline55 View Post
    Including the research and development part, how much does NOT requiring a return trip reduce the cost?
    True but it will require the infrastructure to support the people on Mars indefinitely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by selvaarchi View Post
    True but it will require the infrastructure to support the people on Mars indefinitely.

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    Any such requirement depends on your assumptions going in. Since you say "indefinitely", I assume you are thinking that a one-way trip must be a colony that includes raising children. My own assumption is a research station with non-breeding adults committed to stay, because life is a one-way trip whether it's spent on Earth or on Mars. So "indefinite" becomes less than 50 years in my model, unless additional trips are made by more researchers or eventual colonists. For each of them, the experience is still limited to 50 years or so.

    If the first travelers not only explore, discover, etc., but also build using local materials only, then what is the additional "cost" to them? The only applicable costs are when they use up non-replaceable items.

    But the point I was making is that the cost of research and development for a return trip is a significant portion of the total cost. Having to build a ship that carries enough fuel and supplies for a launch and one-way trip is expensive. But trying to design to carry an additional launch vehicle and fuel to make a similar return trip is a lot more expensive.
    Depending on whom you ask, everything is relative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkline55 View Post
    So "indefinite" becomes less than 50 years in my model, unless additional trips are made by more researchers or eventual colonists. For each of them, the experience is still limited to 50 years or so.
    During those 50 years, other industrial, ecological, and technological developments will still be taking place on Earth and perhaps elsewhere, so that the next Mars group might find their stay more easily extended to 70 years, and the next trip even more, etc. So eventually a permanent and autonomously self-sustaining, multi-generational and expanding human community could come to pass.

    One thing is for sure... It's not going to start off as a permanent colony based on one rocket from Earth. And it will cost more than 450 mil over the decades.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  29. #59
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    Hey Swampy, after reading the whole thread, I'm with you.

    450 billion sounds like a good minimum price, probably closer to a trillion in the end, if all goes well.
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  30. #60
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    You can get humans in the vicinity of Mars without a budget increase--as per Bill Nye:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ekUbzciyKg
    http://hom.planetary.org/

    Now--this may mean giving up on ISS--which I still want serviced.

    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2726/1

    "The workshop, funded by The Planetary Society, is an indication that the organization best known for lobbying for robotic space exploration plans to take a bigger role in human spaceflight....That includes, he said, supporting the SLS, a launch vehicle that remains controversial in some parts of the space community. 'When I first took the job [of Planetary Society CEO], I was under a lot of pressure to criticize the Space Launch System,' he said. 'But it’s in the works, and the people doing it seem to know what they’re doing, and it really would be a great thing.'”
    Last edited by publiusr; 2017-Jun-16 at 08:56 PM.

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