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#1 2012-03-22 07:12:04

RGClark
Member
From: Philadelphia, PA
Registered: 2006-07-05
Posts: 501
Website

Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Elon Musk was interviewed on the U.S. news program "60 minutes" on Sunday:

SpaceX: Entrepreneur's race to space.
March 18, 2012 4:44 PM
From PayPal to electric cars to rockets, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk wants his company, SpaceX, to build America's next manned spacecraft. Scott Pelley reports.
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50121782n


He was also interviewed on a BBC radio program where he states that eventually, after perhaps a decade of regular flights, the price for a round trip ticket to Mars might be down to $500,000 per person:

20 March 2012 Last updated at 19:25 ET
Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent.
Mars for the 'average person'.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17439490



Bob Clark


Nanotechnology now can produce the space elevator and private orbital launchers. It now also makes possible the long desired 'flying cars'. This crowdfunding campaign is to prove it:
Nanotech: from air to space.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nano … 13319568#/

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#2 2012-03-22 08:08:32

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

inflated dollars? 

anyway, that guy... I wish him *all* the luck he will need.


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#3 2012-03-23 22:14:33

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

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Sign me up.


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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#4 2012-03-24 14:20:41

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 16,135

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Lets see now if I earned *** a year and did not live at all I could go in just 10 for that cost.....Sure that would be but I perfer to eat and live so the cost must come down if they want ordinary people to go forth into the universe.

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#5 2012-04-01 00:51:09

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

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Don't expect the cost to get any lower than that, unless you're counting on space elevators or magic technology. $500k seems to be Musk's estimate of the raw cost using rockets and developed infrastructure.

On the other hand, don't forget that you would (presumably) be making a living on Mars, and the trip could be financed. A return of indentured servitude, in a way: sign a contract for a 3-7 year union job on Mars, then upon completion take a cash settlement instead of a return ticket

Last edited by Mark Friedenbach (2012-04-01 00:52:17)

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#6 2012-04-01 06:36:55

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,892

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Mark Friedenbach wrote:

Don't expect the cost to get any lower than that, unless you're counting on space elevators or magic technology. $500k seems to be Musk's estimate of the raw cost using rockets and developed infrastructure.

On the other hand, don't forget that you would (presumably) be making a living on Mars, and the trip could be financed. A return of indentured servitude, in a way: sign a contract for a 3-7 year union job on Mars, then upon completion take a cash settlement instead of a return ticket


Also don't forget there is no reason why a Mars colony shouldn't subsidise the cost.  In the 1960s you could travel from the UK to Australia as an immigrant for £10, courtesy of the Australian government who wanted immigrants from the UK and were subsidising the cost of transport.

I think this is almost bound to happen. The subsidy will be provided in a number of ways. I think all the Mars ground control, storage etc  will be provided free of charge.  I think the Mars colony will make fuel tanks and primitive rockets that can get people and freight to LMO. They will manufacture rocket fuel and also export it to LEO, together with water, food and other items.  All that will be provided for free. In addition Mars revenue will be used to pay for flights from Earth.  So put that together with transfer costs being covered by universities, big corporations, space agencies etc. I think the cost will not be an impediment.

I think a Mars subsidy can probably get the cost down to something like $200,000 per person.

I have been wondering at what stage the colony could manufacture rockets. Rocket fuel will come first - possibly from day one as part of a mostly automated process. 

I think something like the Armadillo could get people and goods to LMO.  (I seem to recall this was discussed before - I'd welcome technical comments on that.) Here's a link to their website:-

http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armadillo/Home

And here's a link to their video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOXAEBRR0dI

Last edited by louis (2012-04-01 06:44:31)


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#7 2012-07-20 00:13:46

RGClark
Member
From: Philadelphia, PA
Registered: 2006-07-05
Posts: 501
Website

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Just saw this interview of Elon Musk on NasaSpaceFlight:

Space X Heralds New Era of Travel.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZqN7351Z30

He mentions manned flights to Mars. He says initially they will be 6 month flights, but eventually they will come down to under a month.


  Bob Clark


Nanotechnology now can produce the space elevator and private orbital launchers. It now also makes possible the long desired 'flying cars'. This crowdfunding campaign is to prove it:
Nanotech: from air to space.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nano … 13319568#/

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#8 2012-07-23 07:45:08

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Where's Clark's comment?

Man, man, man, Elon having to talk to such dimwits again and again, he must be a very patient man!

Of course, the more he does these 'smalltalks' the more people see it, I guess, so it's a goooood thing! big_smile


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#9 2012-07-23 08:51:08

RGClark
Member
From: Philadelphia, PA
Registered: 2006-07-05
Posts: 501
Website

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Rxke wrote:

Where's Clark's comment?
Man, man, man, Elon having to talk to such dimwits again and again, he must be a very patient man!
Of course, the more he does these 'smalltalks' the more people see it, I guess, so it's a goooood thing! big_smile

SpaceX has mentioned "nuclear thermal" rockets for manned flights:

August 06, 2010
Spacex talks Falcon X Heavy for 125 tons of heavy lift and Falcon XX for 140 tons and Nuclear Thermal interplanetary Rockets.
http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/08/spacex … r-125.html


  Bob Clark


Nanotechnology now can produce the space elevator and private orbital launchers. It now also makes possible the long desired 'flying cars'. This crowdfunding campaign is to prove it:
Nanotech: from air to space.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nano … 13319568#/

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#10 2012-07-23 14:37:24

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,643
Website

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Sounds like somebody at Spacex is coming to some of the same conclusions as I did.  I haven't looked at solar electric yet,  but they are.  Those are good things.  If Spacex stays on that path,  they will beat NASA to Mars and everywhere else.  Bravo for them.

Their only trouble with nuclear thermal is that all things nuclear in the US are a government monopoly.  Red tape in abundance at best.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#11 2012-07-23 21:36:55

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Mars as an act of charity? The problem is that this approach will not outlive Musk. I hope he has a long and fruitful life.

Still nucking futs.

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#12 2012-07-23 22:25:58

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

clark wrote:

Mars as an act of charity? The problem is that this approach will not outlive Musk. I hope he has a long and fruitful life.

Still nucking futs.

Doesn't have to . If he really gets there in max 20 yrs, he still has plenty of time to build a moderate outpost/base there (out of charity) He's a young whippersnapper!

By that time it might very well be lucrative/very tempting for others to offer services to that outpost commercially.


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#13 2012-07-23 22:51:00

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

There is no money to be made on Mars, not in 10 years and not in 20 years. There have been a lot of fanciful ideas, but there is no economy that makes any sense.

Wish it were otherwise. The economy needed is 50+ years out.

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#14 2012-07-24 07:28:44

NeoSM
Member
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: 2012-07-16
Posts: 28

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

clark wrote:

There is no money to be made on Mars, not in 10 years and not in 20 years. There have been a lot of fanciful ideas, but there is no economy that makes any sense.

Wish it were otherwise. The economy needed is 50+ years out.

Agreed; the companies that help us get there might make money on the taxpayers dole via NASA/Govt, but growing the right economy and generating anything from Mars itself is a long way off - especially if using "flag and footprint" schemes with chemical engines to get there.

SpaceX looking into other propulsion systems does show promise, and could change things (especially if it's something that can be refueled at Mars (water NTR) or doesn't need much fuel at all (SEP)).

Last edited by NeoSM (2012-07-24 07:35:34)

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#15 2012-07-24 09:22:56

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,892

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

clark wrote:

There is no money to be made on Mars, not in 10 years and not in 20 years. There have been a lot of fanciful ideas, but there is no economy that makes any sense.

Wish it were otherwise. The economy needed is 50+ years out.


We ought to take those words and put them up on a plaque in the first Mars base in 2022.

First off, the landing on Mars will be an epic event that could easily rival the Olympics in terms of sponsorship (and the sponsorship doesn't have to end with the landing). I am not a fan of corporate money but to pretend it's not available is absurd. The sponsorship for the Olympics is nearly $1billion. There's no doubt $500 million could be raised for the landing and large sums for subsequent exploration missions to places like Olympus Mons. TV and picture rights would also be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. How many times have Apollo pics been used on Earth? Imagine if a royalty is paid every time the Mars pics are used.

Second off, what you bring back will have a huge saleable value: regolith and meteorites will be selling for hundreds of dollars a gram. Not just that - but virtually any item from the first mission will have high value to science based museums around the world who again will be paying hundreds of dollars a gram. If a museum gets just an extra 10 people per day through the doors because of a Mars related exhibit they might raise over $30,000 a year. Over ten years that's an extra $300,000 revenue.   That's why they can afford to splash out $100,000 on a little selection of objects that have been to or come from Mars.

I will refer you to my thread on the revenue opportunities when I track that down.

In the meantime I would say that once you discount the initial one-off development costs you can get the costs of transit to Mars down to $8000 per kg - being in transit doesn't really add a lot of cost even if it is a pain for the humans concerned. At  that point lots of things become possible.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#16 2012-07-24 11:47:19

NeoSM
Member
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: 2012-07-16
Posts: 28

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

louis wrote:

We ought to take those words and put them up on a plaque in the first Mars base in 2022.

Second off, what you bring back will have a huge saleable value: regolith and meteorites will be selling for hundreds of dollars a gram. Not just that - but virtually any item from the first mission will have high value to science based museums around the world who again will be paying hundreds of dollars a gram. If a museum gets just an extra 10 people per day through the doors because of a Mars related exhibit they might raise over $30,000 a year. Over ten years that's an extra $300,000 revenue.   That's why they can afford to splash out $100,000 on a little selection of objects that have been to or come from Mars.


If we used your Mars base in the next 10 years date,

The first Mars mission lander will not have the ability to bring back vast amounts of rock; what little rock will be brought back will be used for scientific study, and even if it was sold along with any "first mission tech" (unlikely; it seems more approprate / probable that after the "artifacts" are studied to the fullest extent, they'll be donated to the high profile museums of the participating countries (Smithsonian, State Hermitage ect.) )- the money made from the few peices brought back would be insignificant compared to the price of the actual launch - using only the first mission - you would never break even from the sale of Mars rocks, so you would never make any money. Very unlikely that you would get an absolute return on your investment right away (definitely not from the first), unless a better technology is used - which may not happen for the next 4 or 8 years due to political and economical contraints.

Last edited by NeoSM (2012-07-24 12:32:48)

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#17 2012-07-24 13:24:17

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,892

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

NeoSM wrote:
louis wrote:

We ought to take those words and put them up on a plaque in the first Mars base in 2022.

Second off, what you bring back will have a huge saleable value: regolith and meteorites will be selling for hundreds of dollars a gram. Not just that - but virtually any item from the first mission will have high value to science based museums around the world who again will be paying hundreds of dollars a gram. If a museum gets just an extra 10 people per day through the doors because of a Mars related exhibit they might raise over $30,000 a year. Over ten years that's an extra $300,000 revenue.   That's why they can afford to splash out $100,000 on a little selection of objects that have been to or come from Mars.


If we used your Mars base in the next 10 years date,

The first Mars mission lander will not have the ability to bring back vast amounts of rock; what little rock will be brought back will be used for scientific study, and even if it was sold along with any "first mission tech" (unlikely; it seems more approprate / probable that after the "artifacts" are studied to the fullest extent, they'll be donated to the high profile museums of the participating countries (Smithsonian, State Hermitage ect.) )- the money made from the few peices brought back would be insignificant compared to the price of the actual launch - using only the first mission - you would never break even from the sale of Mars rocks, so you would never make any money. Very unlikely that you would get an absolute return on your investment right away (definitely not from the first), unless a better technology is used - which may not happen for the next 4 or 8 years due to political and economical contraints.


I very much doubt Space X will donate material free to agencies. They will have to pay one way or the other. It might not be a straight commercial transaction, it might be a donation to the Mars project.

If Space X can get you to orbit for $2500, it seems reasonable they can get that down to at least $1000 over time.  I think applying a multiple of 4 to that will give you $4000. I think that multiple will be reasonable once the Mars transit system is up and running. Obviously the initial development costs are not going to be recouped any time soon but what is important is if Mars can pay its way in terms of revenue thereafter. I think it can, ferrying scientists, space agency staff etc, putting experiments on Mars, returning regolith and meteorites (or maybe fossils! - imagine how much they will cost)...


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#18 2012-07-24 13:55:58

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

2500????


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#19 2012-07-24 14:37:10

NeoSM
Member
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: 2012-07-16
Posts: 28

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Rxke wrote:

2500????

I second that

louis wrote:

I very much doubt Space X will donate material free to agencies. They will have to pay one way or the other. It might not be a straight commercial transaction, it might be a donation to the Mars project.

I was only referring to the very first Mars mission - in post 16 - in reply to your post (post 15) which was also about the first Mars mission.

In terms of the first mission, it won't only be SpaceX; NASA will have very heavy involvement - SpaceX just provides the cheap efficient transportation (which NASA helps pay for a large fraction of the development cost), there is no doubt that NASA will have priority access to anything gathered on the martian surface, which means the sale of anything is most likely out of the question, as NASA doesn't have to make money - the taxpayer provides that for them. Also, I didn't say agencies, I said museums - again I am ONLY referring to the very first mission.

louis wrote:

Obviously the initial development costs are not going to be recouped any time soon but what is important is if Mars can pay its way in terms of revenue thereafter. I think it can, ferrying scientists, space agency staff etc, putting experiments on Mars, returning regolith and meteorites (or maybe fossils! - imagine how much they will cost)...

I agree 100% with that, however for the taxpayer* to get a return on investment (not SpaceX - as they would be getting paid to "ferrying scientists, space agency staff etc, putting experiments on Mars, returning regolith and meteorites" primarily by Govt. (at first)) there would have to be some sort of Martian economy like clark stated, stimulating growth and putting money in the private sector via tourism and practical* exports.


- and no, an economy can't be soley based of a place "devoted to peace and science" as the Antarctic Treaty reads.

cheers!

Last edited by NeoSM (2012-07-24 14:52:26)

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#20 2012-07-25 00:24:56

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Not sure NASA will have anything to say if Musk keeps pushing like he is... 'all' they did is give him some prize money, it does not give them any rights to exclusivity IIRC... Musk could've paid everything out of his own pocket, but it would've been stupid to do so. Th way he's going gives him credibility with the red tape people...

I do think there's a market, but have a hard time explaining my thoughts clearl (non-native speaker at 6 AM, grin...)


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#21 2012-07-25 00:33:41

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,658

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

I wrote the former entry some hours ago, forgot to hit 'submit'

Maybe now I'm a bit more clear in the head, grin.

I think it will be some kind of 'stakeholder' bonanza, like in the goldrush, but not poor guys trying for their luck, no.  More like the big corps trying to be first and patent the h*ll out of things they do there 'first'   

you think patent wars are bad today? Wait untill we set foot on Mars...

MitshubichiSuperCorp hitching a ride with a small dumptruck in their luggage, using it there for a week and saying 'hey we invented a NEW way of hauling regolith!' and claiming any possible future mining rights through their technique. et c.

speculation in the extreme.

'We can't let the other guy (rival company) get away with an opportunity like that!'

Meanwhile, they set up outposts et c, demand for transportation rises, etc etc.

people end up there, first the loyal companymen in the extreme, later more mundane workers and jack of all trades....

And then of course there's an uprising lol  and Mars wil be free, free free! lol

Last edited by Rxke (2012-07-25 00:34:18)


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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#22 2012-07-25 06:40:15

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

If I go out to the middle of the Sahara and start making kazoos, I haven't magically created an economy. Maybe I sell a few kazoos because some people like the novelty of getting a kazoo that was made in the Sahara, but most people will buy their kazoo's locally because it is easier and cheaper. Making it easier to get to the Sahara doesn't solve the problem; it just means more people will show up in the Sahara making their own kazoo's. A competition of kazoo's!

I know, you might point out that some of the people going to the Sahara could sell other things to the kazoo makers. True. A little local service economy in the Sahara. Still, how do you pay the service economy if the kazoo makers aren't making any money? Poor little kazoo makers.

Here is what you can put on the plaque for your first Martian base: "Mars, Kingdom of the Kazoo's"

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#23 2012-07-25 06:54:33

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,892

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

clark wrote:

If I go out to the middle of the Sahara and start making kazoos, I haven't magically created an economy. Maybe I sell a few kazoos because some people like the novelty of getting a kazoo that was made in the Sahara, but most people will buy their kazoo's locally because it is easier and cheaper. Making it easier to get to the Sahara doesn't solve the problem; it just means more people will show up in the Sahara making their own kazoo's. A competition of kazoo's!

I know, you might point out that some of the people going to the Sahara could sell other things to the kazoo makers. True. A little local service economy in the Sahara. Still, how do you pay the service economy if the kazoo makers aren't making any money? Poor little kazoo makers.

Here is what you can put on the plaque for your first Martian base: "Mars, Kingdom of the Kazoo's"

You're not making any sense at all.

As soon as you arrive on Mars and fold out your PV panels, you have an economy.  You are producing stuff (electricity) on Mars.

You also have a service economy based on things like sponsorship and carrying experiments.

The facts are that people do search for meteorites in the Sahara and do make a living from it.  People also export sand to beaches and so on.

Mars however is not the Sahara - it is far more interesting to people. The opporunities for developing its ISRU economy and its trading economy will be huge.

When people grapple with these ideas they often get confused between different concepts e.g. profit and revenue, ISRU utlitisation, trade surplus, serivces/manufacture, Mars GDP, subsidised and unsubsidised activities, money cost/energy cost/labour cost, Mars money and Earth money, per capita wealth, personal wealth, transit costs etc etc  Really, you need to have a good grasp of all these different concepts. People tend to just slop them into the same bucket and mix them up. Only once you start differentiating between them can you get a grip on Mars economic development.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#24 2012-07-25 07:00:42

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,892

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

Rxke wrote:

I wrote the former entry some hours ago, forgot to hit 'submit'

Maybe now I'm a bit more clear in the head, grin.

I think it will be some kind of 'stakeholder' bonanza, like in the goldrush, but not poor guys trying for their luck, no.  More like the big corps trying to be first and patent the h*ll out of things they do there 'first'   

you think patent wars are bad today? Wait untill we set foot on Mars...

MitshubichiSuperCorp hitching a ride with a small dumptruck in their luggage, using it there for a week and saying 'hey we invented a NEW way of hauling regolith!' and claiming any possible future mining rights through their technique. et c.

speculation in the extreme.

'We can't let the other guy (rival company) get away with an opportunity like that!'

Meanwhile, they set up outposts et c, demand for transportation rises, etc etc.

people end up there, first the loyal companymen in the extreme, later more mundane workers and jack of all trades....

And then of course there's an uprising lol  and Mars wil be free, free free! lol

I think "being first" will be a huge source of revenue. I have often mentioned the competition I think there will be to have the first university satellite campus on Mars.

Equally, just imagine the huge publicity that would go to the first car being driven on Mars. Maybe a SUV type vehicle. Imagine if a company paid for most of the parts to be shipped out there and then assembled it there. The news media would go wild and then the company could trade on that and images of the vehicle on Mars for years to come. It would easily be worth paying $50 million even $100 million for that sort of publicity.  But the real cost to a Mars Consortium might be no more than $10-$20 million - there would be a huge profit to be made.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#25 2012-07-25 07:02:23

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,252

Re: Elon Musk: ticket to Mars for $500,000.

All your silly buzzwords aside, producing something does not make an economy. I'm sorry that my poor metaphor failed- i really can't make this any plainer.

But I digress, go make your kazoos- afterall, production = economy.

My original point is that Musk is motivated from a point of charity. I applaude him, but it makes for a poor long term plan to depend on personal charity.

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