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#1 2003-01-11 22:26:40

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

Well, we've been discussing all aspects of funding, technology, and so forth involved in a Mars mission.

This is partly on my mind because I'm writing a business plan for school, but anyway, I was thinking we should translate our ideas into a coherent, solid business plan. 

A business plan is a very useful tool for getting resources and personnel.  If we can show the technology that already exists, the budget, and the possible profit to investors in a single document that has a clear and concise purpose, we can get funds.

Include all manner of possible incomes, and expenses.  Nobody wants to see a fluffy business plan that doesn't plan conservatively.  But we should also show ad revenue, possible television revenue, book revenue, sales of related paraphenelia, etc.

So, why shouldn't we get started?

While we're at it, perhaps we should write a larger business plan for overall space development, including short term missions, medium term missions, possible developments that would aid our goals, etc.

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#2 2003-01-22 09:33:51

MarsGuy2012
Member
Registered: 2003-01-22
Posts: 122

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

I agree with you 100%.  I am also working on a business plan.
We can do this!!!

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#3 2003-01-31 16:53:48

Echus_Chasma
Member
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Registered: 2002-12-15
Posts: 190
Website

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

So, um, how do you go about making a business plan?

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#4 2003-01-31 18:51:11

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

well first of all you have to come up with a coherent explanation of the business, and why it will work.  theres a format for presentations of business plans by DECA, a nationwide business club for high school students in the USA. 

www.nydeca.org

go to competitive events and check out some of the business plan events, they have a format, which is pretty self-evident.

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#5 2003-01-31 19:34:59

mfrieden
Member
Registered: 2002-04-22
Posts: 10

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

I'm sure that together we could come up with a workable mission plan, but could profit be made off of it?

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#6 2003-01-31 19:47:31

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

advertising, memorobilia, etc. would all have to be expressed.  we could factor in a lucrative television deal for mission footage, too.  selling data from a rock return mission, and copies of the science data.

sell the rights to lab equipment, hab equipment, etc.

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#7 2003-01-31 20:20:46

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

If space was profitable, where are the space hotels?

Also, I find it disturbing that people would want to sell scientific data. Not that it's not done, it's just a terribly sad business practice.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#8 2003-01-31 20:26:51

Mark Friedenbach
Member
From: Mountain View, CA
Registered: 2003-01-31
Posts: 308

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

The Artimis Society has already done a lot of that research into that.  The best figure they were able to come up with was 4.45 billion in revenue (for a moon mission, but it amounts to the same thing).  You can find the info here.  Either we scale down Mars Direct enough to put it below this price tag, or we'll need to find a new source of revenue.

In general, I'd think you'd need to get the price tag down to below one third of the gross revenue.  That brings us to 1.48 billion dollars max.  Now 1.42 billion is the price ASI gave for their referance mission, which uses almost 100% literally off the shelf parts (including the hab!).  Mars Direct is at least an order of magnitude more complex, and requires a lot of R&D, even if the technology itself exists.  Building an aero shield, hab, presserized rover, or ERV is a lot harder than simply taking one out of storage and putting it on a rocket.

So I guess what I'm saying is that in order for this to work, you need to find new sources of profit, or a way to go to mars with both existing technology and existing hardware.  If you can come up with any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

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#9 2003-01-31 21:32:53

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

hmmm, i would think that a speculative $5 billion 10 year network deal for mars footage wouldnt be impossible.  the advertising on each part of the mission could be tremendous as well.  theres a ton you could do, but ill check that site out.

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#10 2003-01-31 22:25:07

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

All highly unreliable methods of income. Just look at these new reality shows. Most of them only last a season tops before their ratings drop. I suspect most people would care less about such an endeavor.

Well, unless it wound up this druken cruise ala Adrian's MDRS trip. big_smile

No, seriously, what could you hope to ‘show’ in a ship and a hab going to Mars? People sitting around tapping their screens boredly? Why would people watch that?


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#11 2003-02-01 05:33:09

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

how many people tuned into apollo?  into the ISS?  Onto the pathfinder website on its landing?

It's not unreliable.  Sports teams get very lucrative TV deals all the time-and they have a specific audience, and theyre not all-day shows either.  Maybe a 2 hour weekly show on NBC.  this would attract a lot of attention, and would certainly be worth their investment.

hell, they spend $2 million just to have their names mentioned at the Super Bowl.

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#12 2003-02-01 06:19:08

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

How many people tuned into Apollo 12-17? Think about it! Seriously! Don't delude yourselves here. After a month and a half, the appeal of watching people sit around... doing daily exercises and nothing much else, goes away.

How many people tune into the regular ISS briefings? NASA could probably have a full feed of the ISS cam on its own pay cable station, and I doubt very seriously it would bring in any money at all, it probably wouldn't break even (only geeks like myself would watch it- and then, I would want audio for it to be at least somewhat enticing).

It's unreliable because it's impossible to predict how people [i:post_uid0]will[/i:post_uid0] react to it. Sure, the first week in space might turn out good, but the week after that? And the week after that? I suspect the ratings would spike initally, then spike again after the landing (albeit very very high), after that, the ratings will probably drop and never return to their all time highs (as shown by every reality TV show in existance). There isn't anything interesting to see about people sitting in a tin can (the first suckers who tune in won't actually realize this at first). Most people would probably just tune in for the first few episode, and then again to hear the whole, “one small step for man, one giant leap for commercializm” speech. That's the important part, right? The dramatic parts. The Fresh Newness, right?

I can see the commercials now, “Tune in to a once in a lifetime event, man actually puts his foot on Mars! Share the wonder as he gives a speech which was voted best by you the viewers (who called the 900 number)! Enjoy views of Mars never before see, with local adjustments by our profesional photographers to have as close to real life colors as possible (only available on the special pay web site, twenty image max, and you must use special software to view so no one else can view them)!” And of course, to maximize profit, we depreciate the ‘public’ feed (which is still hammered with lots of commercials) and crop it out somewhat so that it looks basically like a ball of fuzz, and force people to pay for a special live PPV version that's nice and crisp. smile

I should work for these people. I'd get the job done.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#13 2003-02-01 06:29:28

Josh Cryer
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Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

And I think you made the point for me, soph. Sports does have its own specific audience. Just like wrestling and so on. Space flight, however, does not, and only really and truely appeals to geeks. The average person needs a lot more than people sitting around doing exercises occassionally!

If you are going to compare this sort of mission to anything, it has to be the Reality TV genre. And as Reality TV has shown, you have to be the most in your face, most shocking, most repulsive thing to actually achieve ratings. Sorry, but people sitting around in habs are not enticing.

Now, perhaps if we make it sort of a romance trip to Mars, where couples try to hook up and have sex on live (with the time delay of course) cams, we could get an audience. Of course, it's debatable whether such an approach would make more money than Coeds In The ISS, because really, a tin can is a tin can.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#14 2003-02-01 09:58:05

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

bah, we could have a weekly program with highlights from the weeks mission.  you envision a dull constant feed, but it doesnt have to be that way.  have some imagination!

we could have educational discussions, computer simulations of events, discussions of the future of mars, prospects for the future of missions, etc.

this is discounting the shuttle accident.

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#15 2003-02-01 10:28:22

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

we could have a weekly program with highlights from the weeks mission

Dull.

you envision a dull constant feed

Not really, I envision Hot Coeds In Space. It has to make money, right?

Here's a telling quote from Artemis, “We plan [to] bring the drama and excitement of space travel home to you.” I'd say they plan to be vaguely voyeuristic at the very least. And honestly, it's the only way it would work, and pay for itself.

Just think reality TV, in space.

we could have educational discussions

Dull. Name one top show in prime time which has educational discussions.

computer simulations of events

Dull. Name one multimillion dollar service that has computer simulations of events (most computer simulations made by scientists are free).

discussions of the future of mars

Dull. Speculation is only interesting when things are blowing up and so on. Name one discussion of the future of anything which has shown to be anywhere remotely profitable. Most discussions of the future are on TLC, Discovery, or the publicly funded PBS. In some cases they don't even break even (in the case of PBS).

prospects for the future of missions

Future commericalized missions? You do realize sequals have generally half as good ratings, right? Just talking about a sequal is dull.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#16 2003-02-01 10:30:54

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

wow, from your POV, i guess the discovery channel wouldnt exist anymore.  or national geographic, or the national geographic channel.  or the history channel.

gee, better call them up and tell them that they dont belong in business anymore!

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#17 2003-02-01 10:44:17

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

Um, soph, what are you smoking today? smile

I didn't say anything about TLC or Discovery being unable to profit. I was asking you to name a situation (or I should have said show) where something about the discussion of the future made good money.

It's a fallacy to compare networks to shows. Cable channels can profit well because they cater to their own audience. The issues arise when you want to reach as large an audience as possible, and have to convince those who don't care for your particular programming to watch.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#18 2003-02-01 10:46:23

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

Discovery, TLC, etc. promote the same kind of educational, documentary television progamming, but its far less exciting.  what is a lions life compared to our planetary development?

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#19 2003-02-01 10:51:58

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

Tsk. This is going to go into circles, I'm sure, but since you started the topic I see no reason why we can't hijack it and go off into all sorts of interesting tangents.

Where are the all astro-related channels, and what kinds of revenue do they make? I doubt very seriously they'd compete with Discovery and TLC; those channels know how to disperse their viewing audience.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#20 2003-02-01 10:54:39

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

the sci-fi channel still exists, doesnt it?

the nasa channel still exists-and they havent really had much exciting new recently besides the shuttle and ISS.

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#21 2003-02-01 11:00:23

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

Funny. The Scifi channel has really went on this paranormal and horror thing lately, people are really hating it. And even then, scifi tends to relate to fiction, fantasy, horror, paranormal, and so on, it's not exactly reality we're talking about.

NASA TV is a gem. Only. It doesn't make a profit (that I know of! perhaps it does- I do know the satellite feed is free, and as far as I can tell, everything shown on it is public domain!). Booyah.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#22 2003-02-01 11:14:44

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

back to what i was saying before, there are many ways we can make money.  i tend to take the optimistic approach, because naysayers throughout history have been proven wrong by enterprising businessmen. 

ill start research soon, anybody want to point me to some good research points?

oh, and if we are doing this for a private business, we could also include the possibility of selling their launch vehicles, and so on to other companies.  the publicity could be tremendous.  further government funding for future missions is reasonable expectable.  i would even say that it would be enough to show a break even, because there is surely someone who is willing to make the investment for public recognition as well, especially if its joint investment.

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#23 2003-02-01 11:43:23

Josh Cryer
Administrator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

Just let me do it for you. Pay me 100k a year, and I'll get your little project moving quite nicely.  big_smile

But really, it's a no brainer. People need new exciting stuff. The question is, “How long can we keep space new and exciting?” A scientific approach isn't going to work, even Artimis knows this. This is why they're at least approaching it with some sort of space drama in mind (though I question who the ‘actors’ would be- to sell a service you need attractive actors, not just average, or even below average geeks).

In the end, I doubt its feasiblity, though.


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#24 2003-02-01 17:57:26

Austin Stanley
Member
From: Texarkana, TX
Registered: 2002-03-18
Posts: 519
Website

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

Well I think there is some potential to make a profitable show based upon a mars mission, I mean the logistics wouldn't be hard, I assume you're probably tapeing pretty much everything going down, so you'd just have to get the astronauts and the mission control/administration folks to give little interviews or whatever on what was going down, and you could have a 1 or 2 hour weekly TV show pretty cheaply, I mean realy the majority of you're costs would be editing (that is if you ommit the HUGE cost of the mission itself).

Unfortuantly even the most wildly succesful show wouldn't be able to cover the cost of a mission to mars.  And lets face it, you're not going to be able to have a show popular enough to sustain excelent ratings for the 2 or 3 years that the mission would take.


He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

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#25 2003-02-07 09:57:57

MarsGuy2012
Member
Registered: 2003-01-22
Posts: 122

Re: Mars: A business plan - lets get at it

Ok guys... what are you doing???
It looks like your on the wrong track.

My business plans include everything you've been suggesting.  But I don't expect that selling directly to the public will do more than break even.  The true value of diseminating info to the public is PR.  We just need to give people an adventure.  The Mars astronauts aren't going to be in a tin can for the exciting parts of the trip, so why even bother talking about it.  Let's just show people what its like to explore an untouched planet.

That's very nice and all but not very profitable.  Now let's see...who has the big bucks...?  Large organizations!

My business plan is simple.  We build the vehicles to get people to Mars and then sell these vehicles to big buyers.  Imagine how embarrased the current U.S. president will be when a private company leapfrogs NASA and puts people on Mars.  Well, he'll just have to order a bunch of rockets to put his own men up there.  He'll definitely have to if he sees us selling the same vehicles to Russia, China, Europe, Brazil, Japan, etc.
So, I propose we start another space race. Whoever gets the most people to Mars wins!

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