Re: from 6 billion to 500 million: how?

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 22:43:40 MST

John Marlow wrote:

> You know, I've changed my mind? I like your posts, practicality be
> damned. jm

Practicality be praised. Part of the reason I squick people with that
single astronaut riff is that I fail to provide enough background on
my assumptions. Those interested in Mars colonies need to start
out by realizing two things 1. how damned expensive it is, and
2. where the money is coming from.

I think it was you who pointed out that governments are unlikely
to come up with the money. Did not Papa Bush ask NASA what
it would cost? He was told 500 billion. Hmmmm. Turns out
governments are not at liberty to do the stunts that privately funded
organizations are free to do.

These links are not great, but they are a starting point. It points
out an order of magnitude on how much it takes to soft-land stuff
on Mars, or the moon for that matter. For instance the Vikings were
launched by a Titan III with a Centaur upper stage. The mass of the
lander was 576 kg. Cost of the mission in current bucks, about
3 billion.

Nowthen, all the propulsion/guidance tech needed to do a Mars
mission today is already developed. However, if you take the
time to review the sizes of the past Mars landers, you will see
why we need to go to absurd lengths to reduce the weight of
the payload. A typical stock buyer would perhaps drop 100
bucks for a share, eh? Well, fine, that constitutes *one gram* of
food. Dinner will run well over a thousand dollars per bite. Shall
we not search far and wide for the minimal biter? This minimal
approach is all about practicality, John.

ct suggested removal of redundant organs. Well, why not? But
not intestines, those need to be fully functional and extracting
every calorie, especially considering those calories cost 30 bucks
apiece. And that is an optimistic estimate. Keep those in there.

All of these problems will be solvable if someone would just
kindly provide us with a person 30 cm tall and weighing 5 kg,
with an appetite to match. The rest of the miniaturization we
can do. spike

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:34 MDT