Full disclosure: I’m a space fanatic. I’ll try to keep a neutral point of view, but I’m making an exception for my user page.
My username is a reference to how cheep a Mars mission could be. We could actually go to mars for about $1.5 Billion per trip based on the Mars Direct mission plan. Of course, that’s after spending 1.5B/year for 10 years to integrate all the parts necessary for such a mission. We already have all the technology, and we’ve already done a lot of the engineering work to make it happen.
If you need a reference point, $1.5 Billion is about 10% of NASA’s annual budget, or about 0.05% of the US budget. Of course, congress has a habit of using NASA as a funnel to get more money to their state, and pushing to make sure their corporate sponsors technology is part of any mission, so more realistic figures may be 2 or 3 times larger. Alternatively, SpaceX is developing promising reusable rockets, which would radically decrease the cost. Elon Musk has made it his goal to put colonists on Mars for half a million dollars per person.
Future edits (stored here temporarily)
I've actually been editing various wikis for a while now, mostly just when I’ve found errors or omissions. I finally had to create an account to edit a semi-protected page, and I may or may not continue be active through this account.
I would like to make an addition to the List of common misconceptions, and I will do so once I have met the 4 days and 10 edits requirement to be able to edit semi-protected pages. I've written this in advance, and left it here temporarily:
- NASA did not spend millions of dollars developing a pen that could write in space, instead of just using a pencil like the Russians. The space pen was developed independently by Fisher Pen Co. without any request from NASA and without the use of NASA funds. Fisher approached NASA and asked them to try the pen in 1965. Both NASA and the soviets used pencils previously, but there were issues with graphite dust and broken pencil tips floating around in zero gravity, getting in astronauts eyes, and shorting out delicate electronics. Additionally, pencils pose a significant fire hazard in high-oxygen environments like those in spacecraft. After the 1967 tragedy of the Apollo 1 fire, NASA finally purchased 400 pens for a price of $6 each.