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Author Topic: How much would it cost to send something this far in space?  (Read 1016 times)

Offline thedoc

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John Gamel asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Just heard the podcast where you discuss the problems encountered if we send humans to Mars. So how much does it cost to send one pound of anything"
    from earth to orbit
    from orbit to earth
    from earth to the moon
    from the moon to earth
    from earth to Mars
    from Mars to Earth

By the way, in America our federal government borrows one-third of every dollar it spends. So how much would it cost America or England to send people to Mars and bring them back?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 17/09/2015 04:50:01 by _system »


 

Offline alancalverd

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Not sure about the numbers but ESA and NASA do publish their cargo rates for orbital flight, and I understand that Roscosmos and the Indian Space Agency are open to negotiation. Long distance isn't much more expensive unless you are in a hurry.

Things get expensive when you add life support, which pretty much doubles the payload even for a single orbit and gets very costly for longer flights, but there is a breakpoint where the payload is large enough to permit recycling of waste to clean food and water, after which the curve flattens off - a bit like the relative cost of flying the Atlantic in a little Cessna (about 2 per passenger mile) or a 747 (about 20p per passenger mile).

The cost gets horrendous if you are looking for a return trip to a substantial planet. Even from the Moon, you have to leave a lot of expensive kit behind, but in order to take off from Mars you need almost as much fuel as you would need to leave the Earth in the first place, so your ramp/payload ratio has increased by another factor of around 500,000.

Hence manned space exploration beyond the Moon should in my opinion be initially carried out by expendable old folk like me, who are quite capable of building and running a laboratory and have no desire to return to Earth. Resupply by one-way cargo rockets will keep us going at very low cost until the last man on Mars drops dead. There's not much point in treating major diseases of old age, such as cancer, but I'd like to be accompanied by a female (they weigh and eat less) dentist, preferably with a good contralto voice (low atmospheric pressure will bring that up to low soprano). Or I could survive with false teeth and a piano.   
« Last Edit: 17/09/2015 17:13:51 by alancalverd »
 

Offline Thebox

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John Gamel asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Just heard the podcast where you discuss the problems encountered if we send humans to Mars. So how much does it cost to send one pound of anything"
    from earth to orbit
    from orbit to earth
    from earth to the moon
    from the moon to earth
    from earth to Mars
    from Mars to Earth

By the way, in America our federal government borrows one-third of every dollar it spends. So how much would it cost America or England to send people to Mars and bring them back?

What do you think?

Does it not cost just the materials of what we send, i.e pound of chocolate, and the cost of fuel to break orbit?, then does Newtons laws apply and the chocolate will travel on its own momentum until external forces are applied?
 

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