7 thoughts on “My Latest Space-Policy Piece”

  1. I think the exploration of the Moon which is needed, could cost about 5 billion dollars.
    Lunar activity could cost more than a trillion dollars and be endless.

    I think NASA should focus on exploring what needed to be explored on the Moon and then should focus on exploring Mars.

    Expecting NASA to explore the Moon for a cost of 5 billion is unrealistic- plus NASA needs to do more than just explore the Moon. NASA should also demonstrate an operation depot, and it needs to get ready to explore Mars.
    Having operating depot, set the stage for commercial use of the Moon and allow a cheaper way to explore Mars.
    Mars exploration can not explored for 5 billion dollars, it is project that needs at least 50 billion dollars- in terms of minimal exploration to determine if Mars is viable for human settlements.
    One could do flags and footprints or Mars as a stunt for about 5 billion dollars- but US government or anyone needs a stunt- and the stunt might kill people.- not good PR.

    So the NASA lunar program instead should targeted to spend about 40 billion dollars and early part of Mars exploration, first 10 years of program should be around 100 billion dollars.
    Or both lunar and Mars exploration is quite cheap compared to money NASA has wasted on other major programs.
    The main element involved with doing it this cheap, is doing it fast.
    And it’s going to involve the private sector.
    Some might say because it involves the private sector, it can be cheaper, but if these exploration programs are slow, the private sector likewise can spend a lot money.
    So fast is finish exploring the Moon within a decade, and early part of exploring Mars is also about a decade. And Mars exploration might require 2 or 3 decades, but once reach a decade of exploring Mars, you might have clue what is actually needed to finish exploring Mars. Or there is little sense in planning the Mars program too far into the future- as things change.
    Within a decade of exploring the Moon, there could commercial lunar water mining occurring- which will change the game. And circumstances could change to make the exploration cost of Mars much cheaper- but you can’t plan on it.

    An element that makes programs slower is not enough funding to do what is needed to be done- not enough money in the year’s budget, so have to delay it, until next year. And this is not going to fast. Waste anything but time is not exactly the approach, but time is money is the general idea.

      1. For commercial lunar water mining/rocket fuel, it seems need one in low lunar orbit.
        For NASA, LEO, and buying rocket fuel for Mars exploration, commercial rocket delivery has/uses depots in whatever location works (depending on where NASA wants to buy rocket fuel.
        By NASA developing a depot, so it operational (in LEO), NASA can know exactly how they want or expect to buy rocket fuel in space.

        1. Oh, LOX only depot in LEO.
          Commercial Lunar rocket fuel, would start with selling rocket fuel at lunar surface and exporting Lunar LOX to lunar low orbit.
          And LOX is most of mass of rocket fuel and starting with LOX only in LEO should cost less to do.

  2. A minor point: though both in Princeton, O’Neill and Dyson were not, strictly speaking, colleagues “at” Princeton. O’Neill was at Princeton University. Dyson was and is at the Institute for Advanced Study, which, while in Princeton, is independent of Princeton University.

  3. Of course humanity will expand into space! It is only a question of when not if, as only a terrible cataclysm can prevent that destiny.

    If the p!ssers and moaners among us always had their way, humanity would, at best, have remained a tiny pitiable band cowering in dark caves, hiding from the wolves howling in the wilderness. But to the “enlightened” P&M, that cave beckons with all the comforts of a Hobbit Hole.

    The “wisdom” of the P&M crowd seems to me more likely to lead to extinction than to nirvana.

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