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Elon Musk plan: Send 80k people to Mars...


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Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, has announced an ambitious plan to colonize Mars by shuttling 80,000 pioneers to the Red Planet at a cost of $500,000 a trip. The first phase of the program, which is contingent on the development of reusable rocket that can take off and land vertically, would start off modestly with only a handful of explorers leaving Earth at a time. But in short order, the self-sustaining population could grow into something far greater.

Musk came up with the $500,000 price tag claiming that it would be within the means of most people in advanced countries — what would be akin to purchasing a new home. He estimates that the entire program would cost about $36 billion, an expense sheet that would likely have to be offset by government and private enterprise.

Thirty-six billion dollars to take 80k people to Mars?!

Mother of God.

Or we could start a war. I question the pragmatism of his vision, and yet, I see so much money going towards so much waste --  argument by fallacy perhaps; we don't have to go to war and waste a trillion dollars, but I still prefer Mars expedition at .036 trillion than I do war at 1.00 trillion.

I don't think it's an either/or proposition.

In some ways, ONLY $36 billion to get 80,000 people to Mars is amazingly low.

 Ahh, I see your meaning now. I had thought you implied the opposite. 

No, no. My gut instinct is: HOW IS THIS SO CHEAP?


tl;dr: we aren't doing this because nobody has told a compelling story on why we should do it. 

Space technology is considered defense technology. Security clearances and what not are required to be a part of even private companies like Boeing, Lockheed, SpaceX and others...and yet it is not considered a necessary thing...

I think the easy answer is that space is a pretty convenient target when you're budget cutting; as politicians and their constituents sing in chorus "why do we need to send people to Mars?!?" 

I actually think Elon tells an extremely poor story for SpaceX, or rather his Tesla story is so much better. 

Tesla is a) obvious -- a company whose time has come b) environmentally-friendly (at least on the surface, haven't looked into the energy cost of their superchargers) c) sexy. 

But SpaceX doesn't have the same branding that, for example, Felix's "Space" jump had. Which was sexy. It also doesn't convince people that it's obvious or environmentally friend (rocket fuel, as it turns out, seems to be pretty carbon-riddled...?) 

So his story now is "we need to go to Mars because we need to be a multi-planetary species." 

Huh ? I'm sorry, but that does not resonate with the average folk. Average people say "what's in it for me?" And unless you get a JFK-like Presidential mandate where "what's in it for me" is the collective good of the country...not some futuristic Star Wars/Trek/Dune dream...then you've failed to capture people's imagination. 

I think a better story would be: we're going to advance research in three key areas and these three key areas will affect the ordinary global or american citizen in these ways. e.g. "the tech we discovered from the moon powered the innovation of _____, and without that we wouldn't have _____. by going to mars, we're innovating in ________, and as a result, in the next ___ years, every man woman and child will benefit like so: _________.

What was JFK's reasoning for going to the moon?

Showing it could be done, and doing it first, right? 

 My question isn't why it's so cheap, it's what're they going to do once they get there?  What sort of life will they have?  How will they survive?  You could probably send 80,000 people to Mars for about $10 million--if they're cremated and not expected to live.

It sounds like he wants to build a colony there. Think Jamestown or Plymouth.

The new new world.

 I think I understood.  I was just replying "Wish I knew how" in a snarky way, because that's the crux of the problem isn't it?

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