New Mars Forums

Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Announcement: As a reader of NewMars forum, we have opportunities for you to assist with technical discussions in several initiatives underway. NewMars needs volunteers with appropriate education, skills, talent, motivation and generosity of spirit as a highly valued member. Write to newmarsmember * gmail.com to tell us about your ability's to help contribute to NewMars and become a registered member.

#26 2014-01-15 12:04:28

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,445
Website

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

I don't expect a standing army on Mars. The idea is to prevent war by prohibiting towns from building a military. You don't want one town attacking the next town. Yes, that does mean a town government cannot use a tank or assault helicopter to attack Branch Dividians. Town police can have a police revolver or taser, but no tanks or fighter jets. If you think something is so dire it requires that level of intervention, then ask the federal government for help.

Offline

#27 2014-01-15 12:08:59

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,353
Website

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

Well, I'm not suggesting it makes sense for a town to spend money on a military, given that it would be a lot of resources for something that would not be used. They shouldn't be attacking Branch Davidians anyway, whether they're using a taser or a gunship. But if it's a cult that's holed up in a compound with their leader and his 12 12 year old wives, then the local court can authorise whatever force is necessary.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Offline

#28 2014-01-15 12:23:31

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,445
Website

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

David Koresh took a jog on the public sidewalk every morning. The FBI could have quietly arrested him. No need for the dramatic raid or death. The accusation was he possesed illegal weapons. After they sifted through the ashes, they discovered all weapons were perfectly legal according to Texas law. And US federal law already prohibits use of weapons of war against US citizens on American soil. There were Congressional hearings, and all this did come out, but no charges were laid.

What I'm saying is if a cult builds a compound outside any municipality on Mars, then a leader with 12 12-year-old wives would be legal.

Offline

#29 2014-01-15 12:50:40

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,710

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

Eh. As Princeps of Ceres, I mark you, King Rob, as my equal, not my superior.

I'll have you know that I am the Emporer of IO, have been for quite some time little kings.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#30 2014-01-15 15:39:52

Terraformer
Member
From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,353
Website

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

King? A Princeps is not a king. Ceres is a Commonwealth, not a Monarchy.

What about a leader with 10 10 year old wives? 5 5 year old wives, or indeed any number of children of either sex as his or her concubines?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

Offline

#31 2014-01-15 17:15:37

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,445
Website

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

I feel it is not the job of the State to dictate marital relations. And if you want Mars to be the dramatic refuge of freedom, then you cannot impose limits. Freedom means the ability to do what you want, especially if others don't like it. If the limit is someone can only do what a second person approves of, then there is no freedom. That second person is the dictator.

Offline

#32 2014-01-15 17:54:02

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,196

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

RobertDyck wrote:

Think of it in terms of those making the investment. They put up tens of billions of dollars, in something that's considered very risky. How many settlers would it take before they get their money back? What is return on investment? Will they triple their money? Quadruple? More? The higher the risk, the higher the pay-off has to be. Otherwise they won't invest. So when talking to corporate executive, you have to "spin" it to emphasize all the profits they can make. And if you want to sustain it, then those profits have to be real.

Of couse also notice the individual settler is the primary source of their revenue. So they would be highly motivated to ensure individual settlers are successful. If someone starts a little shop in the main corridor of the mall, selling widgets at a lower price than the company store, then good! Let him. A modern economy requires so many tools, gadgets and widgets that it'll be a very long time before the market is saturated. So if Joe Blow can manufacture spacesuit helmets better and cheaper than the corporation, then great! The corporation will just start manufacturing something else. Say rovers, or equipment to mine hematite concretions, or something else. In fact, if Joe Blow has a successful small business manufacturing and directly selling his widget, then expect the corporation will use him for advertising on Earth.
http://www.technovelgy.com/graphics/content06/blimp-bladerunner.jpg


No, I don't agree with your approach. At least not in terms of let's say the first 50 years on Mars.

In the first 50 years I don't think the community will be dependent on "investment" in that traditional sense.

In the first 50 years what will be important will be revenue from

1. Other Space agencies - do you really think the Nigerian Space Agency or Brazilian Space Agency won't jump at the chance to put an astronaut on Mars, even if it costs them say $100million. Some of the larger Space Agencies may want to set up bases, investing billions of dollars.

2. Universities and research institutions, top schools and private collectors  desperate to get their hands on Mars material. There is a huge market - there are about 20,000 universities worldwide, let's say 10,000 with relevant departments who will all be in the market for material.  If they spend say $300,000 on average over a ten year period on such material

3.  Research institutions desperate to undertake experiments on the surface of Mars.

4. Universities vying to set up the first campus on Mars. My money's on something like a Harvard-MIT campus. They'll cough up maybe a couple of billion over 10 years. (They'll recoup much through student sponsorship).

5. Megarich tourists prepared to pay $100million for the ultimate tourist destination.

6. Vanity projects.

7. Telelinks to Earth for things like interactive work with robots.

The Mars inhabitants will very easily be able to pay their way through:  making luxury items e.g. Mars silk, jewelry, pottery and so on; and servicing all the above activities.


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

Offline

#33 2014-01-15 18:50:21

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,445
Website

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

We've been waiting for that for 1/3 of a century. No progress. Universities have no intention of doing anything on Mars. The cost is just way out of their budget. They want NASA to do it, and don't intend to contribute one penny. In fact, universities expect NASA to contribute money to them. The "megarich" don't want to do any work, they just want to pay some money for a tourist trip. Corporate business that cater to the megarich don't want to risk their money on something with unknown if any return. After all, how many megarich are willing to pay? Trips to ISS for $20 million each have been available since Mir, but how many have gone? Virgin Gallactic has confirmed how many are willing to pay hundreds of thousands, but how many and will it pay for the investment? "Vanity projects"? What's that? Telelinks to Earth would work for the Moon, but how would that work for a planet with 8 minute to 20 minute one way delay due to the speed of light?

Most importantly, Congress has said NASA can't go. Period. They may equivocate, but reality is they have not allowed any work toward Mars at all. The reason is tranditional military contractors who supply NASA are gouging for way too much money. Congress saw the price tag for the 90-Day Report, and said there's no way they'll ever pay that. The contractors and certain individuals within NASA just won't let that go. In fact we keep hearing the complaint that Congress just isn't paying enough money. Rather than trim their request to something on the scale of Mars Direct, they keep demanding the full 90-Day Report, or worse yet even more! Congress has said no. No, NO, and NO! But certain individuals keep expecting the answer will some how change.

My suggestion bypasses all that. Bypass congress, bypass accademia. Go straight to business. Since Congress has demonstrated they just can't, then it's time to make them irrelevant. Development of the Airbus A380 cost €11 billion. That's 11 billion Euros in January 2002! That's equivalent to €13.9 billion today or $17.3 billion in US dollars. That's enough for a single human mission to Mars. So business can finance this all by itself, no government assistance. It's big business, but they can. The catch is they won't unless they can make profit. So I'm trying to do that.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2014-01-16 02:14:26)

Offline

#34 2014-01-16 08:58:38

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

And college education just keeps on getting more and more expensive, Still haven't paid off my student loans, I'm surprised the Universities haven't launched a mission to Mars for the amount they charge in tuition. I don't know where all the money goes that we pay them. It didn't used to be this expensive.

Offline

#35 2014-01-16 09:01:38

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,710

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

Lots of fake work jobs featherbedded into the works, and I am not talking union jobs either.

As for frustration, I share it.  I would say if nothing boils up for Mars that is real in the next 10-15 years, then it is time to look at the Moon instead.  At least if there is something going on with the Moon, then it becomes a potential jumping off point that could eventually bring Mars into reach.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

Offline

#36 2014-01-16 12:46:40

Tom Kalbfus
Banned
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 4,401

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

I would submit that today it is easier to go to Mars, than it was to go to the Moon at the beginning of the Kennedy Administration, which began on January 20, 1961 if I'm not mistaken. Somebody will land on Mars in the next 15 years, I can't guarantee you that it will be an American.

Offline

#37 2014-01-16 20:02:50

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,196

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

Void wrote:

I would think that an eliment to consider which I don't think has been mentioned yet would be a local government entity.

Such an entity could issue bonds.  Collect property taxes, and very likely collect income taxes.

By selling bonds, large and small entities could invest, speculating that they would have a probability to get a return.

Perhaps it could be as much as 5% of a common persons retirement portfolio.

Companies set up on Mars could even consider stocks.

Companies based on Earth having holdings on Mars or busness in transfering goods and services between the two worlds would also likely have stocks.

SpaceX for instance if they bought some bonds from the Mars entity, would have every reason to want to make maneuvers that were more likely to prosper the settlement.

I understand that there are some issues about ownership of an outerspace property, but then there would be incentive for the international community to make a limited land grant to that government, with stipulations on usage and distribution.  Selling land then would also be a source of revenue for a governing entitity issuing bonds.

Of course there would be corporations international and eventually interplanetary, and they would have perhaps holdings within and under some circumstances outside of such a land grant area.

Then there would be research facilities which I would expect would have special dominion over their assets.

A Mars entity could certainly sell bonds on Earth and those bonds would not be valued in terms of Mars' productivity now but what it will be in 20-30 years' time.

De jure ownership is a pretty irrelevant when you have de facto ownership i.e. you are occupying the land and would keep others off it if necessary.  No one thinks for instance that the French would ever try to build an Antarctic base on top of the US base, even if - in international law - the Americans own nothing in Antarctica.


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

Offline

#38 2014-01-16 20:14:42

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,445
Website

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

Yea, university is expensive. In 1999 one party campaigning for the provincial election promised to reduce post secondary tuition. They didn't say how, so I was worried they had no idea. So I tried to get ahold of my local Member of the Legislative Assembly, and lay out my idea. This would lay out on a silver platter a plan to fulfill that election promise. My MLA was a member of the same party, but he did not have a campaign office, no constituency office, did not answer the phone, did not return my voice mail, did not return my email, and when I went to his office at the provincial legislature, his door was locked, no one there. Turns out he's known to media as the most do-nothing MLA in the legislature. So I called party campaign office, and talked to the party secretary. He got me in contact with the executive assistant to the Education critic. By the time I got through to him, the election was over, that party one. So the Education critic became Education Minister for my province. Ok, so I spent the time to brush up my document. I talked to the principle of several high schools, as well as universities and community colleges. Turned out some high schools were starting to implement my ideas, so others had the same idea. Every school did something different, hodge-podge and inconsistent, but it had started. Ok, so I included that. The politicians could make it consistent and take all the credit. Then I called again and asked for a meeting to present my idea. He told me to send it via email, as a Word document. Ok, I wrote it in Word, so that was easy. Then he had a mysterious email problem, wasn't able to open it until after the first provincial budget. Ah huh! If you believe that, then I have a bridge to sell in Brooklyn. The first budget laid out their plan: raid the surplus in the government owned car insurance company, and give it to universities. Well that went over like a lead balloon! Taxpayers demanded any surplus be refunded, not spent on something else. They backed off, did pay the refunds. So they had to find something else. The executive assistant to the Minister then printed out my document. He told me he was surprised and impressed when he saw colour charts come out the printer. I included some charts to illustrate my ideas clearly. I was afraid some politician wouldn't understand if I just used words, I had to include pictures. Well, it worked. The Minister ordered all his Deputy Ministers to do a formal study on my paper. By the way, I included the fact that I had been a college instructor, teaching computer programming one year. At this party's favourite college. And at that time I was a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Months later nothing, so I was worried they dropped it. So I appeared before the local school board to ask them to implement the high school portion. They told me they were already contacted by the provincial Education Ministry, so were already working on it. Great! I later got a formal letter from the Minister thanking me for my letter and stating which parts he intends to implement.

The problem: in 1999 tuition was 5 times what I paid in the early 1980s. Books were also 5 times.

My solution: first year university is a repeat of high school, so coordinate curriculum. Change all grade 12 courses that confer university entrance qualifications to also confer full credit for first year university. This essentially means a local version of Advanced Placement, but for everyone, not just elite students. So students would skip first year, enter directly into second year. Shops courses could be coordinated with community colleges, give credit for at least one semester/term. Winnipeg has a couple technical vocational high schools, it wouldn't take much to do that there.

Next: change the full campus of one major university to a 10-month/3-term calendar. Currently there are only 3 months per semester of class time, so only 6 months per year. Change that from the beginning of September to end of June, just like high school. Reduce Christmas vacation to one week instead of two, keep spring break. This would not reduce class time by even a minute, just reduce vacation time. The effect is 3 semesters/terms per year. Second, third and fourth year are currently 2 semesters per year for a total of 6, so teaching 3 per year reduces that to 2 years. Combine this with the Advanced Placement high school system, and a 4-year bachelor degree is completed in just 2 years.

Professor salaries are paid per year. They don't get 4 months of summer vacation, they have to teach either the intersession (May/June) or summer day session (July/August) or summer evening session (June/July). That's necessary for them to work enough weeks to make a full time job. So what's the difference if they teach May/June and it's called the third session of the regular session, instead of calling it the intersession? So professor salaries would not change. Administration gets paid annually. As does janitorial staff. Building maintenance and utilities are paid all year, regardless whether there are students or not. So all expenses are annual. This means there's no justification to charge students more per year. If students pay the same per year, but for 2 years instead of 4, that effectively means the total cost of a degree is cut in half.

That got the Minister's attention. All this would not cost the Provincial government anything. It would take some effort to set up, but the Minister and his staff get paid regardless whether they do work or sit around having 2 hour martini lunches.

Furthermore, I said Red River College (that party's favourite college) wanted accreditation to teach bachelor degrees instead of just being a community college. Since they already had a 10-month/3-year calendar, the easy solution was to just say "yes". The Minister liked that too. But the University of Manitoba didn't like it; they didn't want competition. So the U of M lobbied to kill the whole thing. The Minister got forced out of politics. Shows him for actually being effective. The whole thing died. Others are trying to implement the high school stuff, but it's extremely slow and inconsistent/hodge-podge.

They froze tuition in 1999. After the last Provincial election in 2011, we have a new Premier. He lifted the tuition freeze. Just before it was lifted, tuition was 5 times what I paid in the 1980s. After adjusting inflation, it was still double. Since the freeze was lifted, tuition has increased even further. When I went tuition was considered expensive, my parents started saving for my education when I was borne. And some don't understand why students are complaining!

Offline

#39 2014-01-17 03:11:41

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 6,196

Re: Economic return of a manned exploration of Mars

RobertDyck wrote:

We've been waiting for that for 1/3 of a century. No progress. Universities have no intention of doing anything on Mars. The cost is just way out of their budget. They want NASA to do it, and don't intend to contribute one penny. In fact, universities expect NASA to contribute money to them. The "megarich" don't want to do any work, they just want to pay some money for a tourist trip. Corporate business that cater to the megarich don't want to risk their money on something with unknown if any return. After all, how many megarich are willing to pay? Trips to ISS for $20 million each have been available since Mir, but how many have gone? Virgin Gallactic has confirmed how many are willing to pay hundreds of thousands, but how many and will it pay for the investment? "Vanity projects"? What's that? Telelinks to Earth would work for the Moon, but how would that work for a planet with 8 minute to 20 minute one way delay due to the speed of light?

Most importantly, Congress has said NASA can't go. Period. They may equivocate, but reality is they have not allowed any work toward Mars at all. The reason is tranditional military contractors who supply NASA are gouging for way too much money. Congress saw the price tag for the 90-Day Report, and said there's no way they'll ever pay that. The contractors and certain individuals within NASA just won't let that go. In fact we keep hearing the complaint that Congress just isn't paying enough money. Rather than trim their request to something on the scale of Mars Direct, they keep demanding the full 90-Day Report, or worse yet even more! Congress has said no. No, NO, and NO! But certain individuals keep expecting the answer will some how change.

My suggestion bypasses all that. Bypass congress, bypass accademia. Go straight to business. Since Congress has demonstrated they just can't, then it's time to make them irrelevant. Development of the Airbus A380 cost €11 billion. That's 11 billion Euros in January 2002! That's equivalent to €13.9 billion today or $17.3 billion in US dollars. That's enough for a single human mission to Mars. So business can finance this all by itself, no government assistance. It's big business, but they can. The catch is they won't unless they can make profit. So I'm trying to do that.

I think you misinterpet what I am proposing.  I am not suggesting the universities would fund the initial missions on Mars, I am saying that once we have proof of concept for ISRU on Mars,  and once we have regular relatively cheap "ferry" services between LEO and LMO, then it becomes feasible to think in terms of a permanent research station/campus on Mars. Then, it is the prestige that will draw the universities. Harvard for instance already has seven research centres scattered around the world. It isn't that great a leap to think in terms of an off planet facility - one that would garner huge publicity for the institutions, underline its lead status.  Also, I don't why a lot of the expenditure wouldn't be covered by sponsorship of researchers from big business e.g. Ford, Toyota, Google - any company that wishes to present itself at the cutting edge of human endeavour. They are already sponsoring students around the world - this is just a matter of rejigging some of their expenditure on education and advertising and focussing it on Mars.  So, if - say - the cost of maintaining a researcher there is $5 million per student per annum, is that really such a big deal for them? Think of how many news stories and prime time TV coverage they can get from those researchers.


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

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB