What would the Mars Mission actually cost

From [Bill Williams 7 March 2004 12:20 PM CST]

Among the Economic thread’s was an assertion by Bill Powers that going to Mars wasn’t going

To cost a damn thing. As the implications of going to Mars emerged one of the costs of the

Mars program was maintained for the space telescope Hubble. And, former astronaut John

Glenn argues that,

                       "I think this kind of thing is wrong. It just pulls the rug out from under the                scientists," said Glenn. "I think

                       they are just sort of scratching their heads, wondering why they put their faith in NASA."

I think the article below presents at least a hint that if the Mars mission becomes NASA’s principle priority there will be some very real costs.

                       March 4, 2004, 9:51PM

                       Ex-astronaut, top scientist question deep space strategy

                       By MARK CARREAU

                       Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

                       President Bush's strategy for human exploration of the moon and Mars drew fire Thursday from former

                       Mercury astronaut John Glenn and others who say the cost will jeopardize other popular research

                       efforts.

                       Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and later a U.S. senator and

                       Democratic presidential aspirant, was among two dozen experts in aerospace who spoke in Dayton,

                       Ohio, before a two-day session of the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond.

                       The commission was established to advise the White House on how to carry out the missions.

                       Both the 82-year-old former astronaut and Lennard Fisk, a former NASA scientist, offered support

                       but questioned whether NASA would be forced to abandon small research programs in order to pay

                       for an expensive deep space exploration initiative.

                       Without scientific paybacks from research in biotechology and medicine aboard the international space

                       station, NASA could find itself with little long-term taxpayer support, Glenn warned the nine-member

                       commission.

                       A final shuttle mission by astronauts to upgrade the 14-year-old Hubble Space Telescope already has

                       been canceled, and plans for a mission to study solar activities have been postponed since Bush

                       unveiled his strategy in mid-January.

                       "I think this kind of thing is wrong. It just pulls the rug out from under the scientists," said Glenn. "I think

                       they are just sort of scratching their heads, wondering why they put their faith in NASA."

                       The exploration strategy calls for NASA to complete assembly of the 16-nation space station by 2010,

                       and end its involvement around 2016. American explorers would return to the moon by 2020. Their

                       next destination would be Mars.

                       The president's strategy is intended in part to give NASA's new focus.

                       "Focus is OK, but if there are casualties in your focus, then you have to decide if the focus is really

                       OK," said Fisk, a University of Michigan professor of earth sciences who led a recent assessment of

                       U.S. space policy for the congressionally chartered National Research Council.

                       "You need a healthy science program because the science program produces results for NASA that

                       people want to see," Fisk testified. "The broader science program is what creates in people's minds the

                       idea that things are happening in NASA that are good things. If you want to wait for 30 years for things

                       to happen on the moon, no one may notice."

                       Bush plans to kickoff the funding for the new exploration by increasing NASA's budget by$1 billion

                       over the next five years, and re-allocating another $11 billion over the period from other agency

                       programs.

                       While the commission cannot change White House strategy, its members could urge Bush to seek more

                       money or postpone some of the milestones to sustain more of the small research activities.

                     March 4, 2004, 9:51PM

                       Ex-astronaut, top scientist question deep space strategy

                       By MARK CARREAU

                       Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

                       President Bush's strategy for human exploration of the moon and Mars drew fire                                                              Thursday from former

                       Mercury astronaut John Glenn and others who say the cost will jeopardize other popular research

                       efforts.

                       Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and later a U.S. senator and

                       Democratic presidential aspirant, was among two dozen experts in aerospace who spoke in Dayton,

                       Ohio, before a two-day session of the President's Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond.

                       The commission was established to advise the White House on how to carry out the missions.

                       Both the 82-year-old former astronaut and Lennard Fisk, a former NASA scientist, offered support

                       but questioned whether NASA would be forced to abandon small research programs in order to pay

                       for an expensive deep space exploration initiative.

                       Without scientific paybacks from research in biotechology and medicine aboard the international space

                       station, NASA could find itself with little long-term taxpayer support, Glenn warned the nine-member

                       commission.

                       A final shuttle mission by astronauts to upgrade the 14-year-old Hubble Space Telescope already has

                       been canceled, and plans for a mission to study solar activities have been postponed since Bush

                       unveiled his strategy in mid-January.

                       "I think this kind of thing is wrong. It just pulls the rug out from under the scientists," said Glenn. "I think

                       they are just sort of scratching their heads, wondering why they put their faith in NASA."

                       The exploration strategy calls for NASA to complete assembly of the 16-nation space station by 2010,

                       and end its involvement around 2016. American explorers would return to the moon by 2020. Their

                       next destination would be Mars.

                       The president's strategy is intended in part to give NASA's new focus.

                       "Focus is OK, but if there are casualties in your focus, then you have to decide if the focus is really

                       OK," said Fisk, a University of Michigan professor of earth sciences who led a recent assessment of

                       U.S. space policy for the congressionally chartered National Research Council.

                       "You need a healthy science program because the science program produces results for NASA that

                       people want to see," Fisk testified. "The broader science program is what creates in people's minds the

                       idea that things are happening in NASA that are good things. If you want to wait for 30 years for things

                       to happen on the moon, no one may notice."

                       Bush plans to kickoff the funding for the new exploration by increasing NASA's budget by$1 billion

                       over the next five years, and re-allocating another $11 billion over the period from other agency

                       programs.

                       While the commission cannot change White House strategy, its members could urge Bush to seek more

                       money or postpone some of the milestones to sustain more of the small research activities.

[Martin Taylor 2004.03.07.1356]

From [Bill Williams 7 March 2004 12:20 PM CST]

Among the Economic thread�s was an assertion by
Bill Powers that going to Mars wasn�t going
To cost a damn thing. As the implications of
going to Mars emerged one of the costs of the
Mars program was maintained for the space
telescope Hubble. And, former astronaut John
Glenn argues that,

                           "I think this kind of
thing is wrong. It just pulls the rug out from
under the scientists," said
Glenn. "I think
                           they are just sort of
scratching their heads, wondering why they put
their faith in NASA."

I think the article below presents at least a
hint that if the Mars mission becomes NASA�s
principle priority there will be some very real
costs.

I think you are comparing apples and oranges here.

Yes, there will be areal cost, but only because
of the double constraint placed arbitrarily on
NASA, that they should undertake the Mars mission
with specified milestones and do it without in
total expending any more money.

Bill P was arguing something entirely different,
which was that money that was spent _by society
as a whole_ on going to Mars was expenditure to
the "consumer" and income to the "producer". He
was argung the same as you have been doing, all
along, that income MUST balance expenditure, as a
simple identity.

Bill P's analysis works in a closed economy. Your
critique works only in an open subset of the
economy in which the expenditure goes out of the
subset's box, but the income doesn't come into it.

Martin

[From Bill Powers (2004.03.07.1301 MST)]

Bill P was arguing something entirely different,
which was that money that was spent _by society
as a whole_ on going to Mars was expenditure to
the "consumer" and income to the "producer".

Thanks for that, Martin. Actually you can go even further and say it is
not, in the long run, an expense to either the aggregate consumer or
aggregate producer. Income to the producer becomes income to the consumer.

NASA receives money from the government which is taken from a broad range
of taxpayers, and it then becomes a customer of other taxpayers, spending
all the money it took (and maybe a little more) and making it income to the
other taxpayers. The cost of going to Mars is income for taxpayers, via the
producers of space goods.

People who complain about the cost of going to Mars are really complaining
about a redistribution of income that they do not agree with. They are
saying they would rather have kept the money to spend themselves, or would
rather have had the government spend it on something else. Basically,
they're saying that spending money in any way they don't agree with is a
waste of money, whereas spending it on projects they approve of is not a
waste, even if the money still gets spent.

Best,

Bill P.

···

He
was argung the same as you have been doing, all
along, that income MUST balance expenditure, as a
simple identity.

Bill P's analysis works in a closed economy. Your
critique works only in an open subset of the
economy in which the expenditure goes out of the
subset's box, but the income doesn't come into it.

Martin

From[Bill Williams 7 March 2004 3:40 PM CST]

[From Bill Powers (2004.03.07.1301 MST)]

>Bill P was arguing something entirely different,
>which was that money that was spent _by society
>as a whole_ on going to Mars was expenditure to
>the "consumer" and income to the "producer".

Martin, with all respect, I think you are completely mistaken.
We know what Powers said, He'd added 2 + 2 and gotten
5 . I think we know just as well what he meant.

>
People who complain about the cost of going to Mars are really complaining
about a redistribution of income that they do not agree with.

Nonsense. I am complaining about waste. What does going to Mars accomplish?
What will it cost? Trillions and Trillions is what someone said.

And, even if I were complaining about a redistrubtion of income, so what?

Nothing at all wrong with this, at least last time I checked the
constitution.

They are

saying they would rather have kept the money to spend themselves, or would
rather have had the government spend it on something else. Basically,
they're saying that spending money in any way they don't agree with is a
waste of money, whereas spending it on projects they approve of is not a
waste, even if the money still gets spent.

I think, all in all, I will stick to my idea that I would rather see
children have health
care rather than see the money spent sending a few warm bodies to Mars.

I don't feel any qualms about saying compared to seeing the children get
health
care the money spent sending warm bodies to Mars is a waste.

The people who favor continuing maintaince of the Hubble telescope have come
to a similiar viewpoint.

Bill Williams

[Martin Taylor 2004.03.07.2316]

From[Bill Williams 7 March 2004 3:40 PM CST]

[From Bill Powers (2004.03.07.1301 MST)]

>Bill P was arguing something entirely different,
>which was that money that was spent _by society
>as a whole_ on going to Mars was expenditure to
>the "consumer" and income to the "producer".

Martin, with all respect, I think you are completely mistaken.
We know what Powers said, He'd added 2 + 2 and gotten
5 . I think we know just as well what he meant.

Ah, well. I never KNOW what people mean, so I'll speak for myself. Of
course, sometimes I don't even know what _I_ mean. But it's worth a
try. It's a point on which we have a fundamental disagreement--and I
do believe that it's a point on which you (Bill W) have a
disagreement with yourself.

> >

People who complain about the cost of going to Mars are really complaining
about a redistribution of income that they do not agree with.

Nonsense. I am complaining about waste. What does going to Mars accomplish?
What will it cost? Trillions and Trillions is what someone said.

...I think, all in all, I will stick to my idea that I would rather see
children have health
care rather than see the money spent sending a few warm bodies to Mars.

What is not clear to me is the _money_ argument that spending
trillions on sending people to Mars means any less money available to
spend on health for children. Every single dollar spent on the Mars
project goes into someone's pocket and right out again, as if it had
never been through the Mars project at all. It buys other people's
employment, and it buys more taxes for the government to use on
socially useful things. The money just passes through other people's
pockets than it would without the Mars project. It doesn't vanish,
and it's as easily spent on childrens' health after it has gone
through the Mars project as before, or instead of.

If there is an argument that these two objectives (Mars and Children)
conflict, it is on the non-money side of the transaction flows. The
_potential_ problem is that the Mars project takes intellectual,
industrial, or raw natural resources to such an extent that there is
less available for application to childrens' health. For example,
some bright student might decide to take up astrophysics or
xenobiology rather than cancer research. That would be a cost of the
Mars Project to children's health. So would it be if the Mars project
gobbled up, say, all the molybdenum, before it was found that a
particular molybdenum product would reverse the effects of birth
defects.

The people who favor continuing maintaince of the Hubble telescope have come
to a similiar viewpoint.

Actually, they came to the viewpoint that if the President is going
to insist on spending the money on the Mars project, and if the
shuttle's safety can't be assured within the current budget, then the
President's budget for them has not allotted enough money to do both
Hubble and Mars. It's a political decision, with no influence from
national or international economic necessities.

From[Bill Williams 7 March 2004 11:50 PM CST]

[Martin Taylor 2004.03.07.2316]

>From[Bill Williams 7 March 2004 3:40 PM CST]
>
>> [From Bill Powers (2004.03.07.1301 MST)]
>>
>> >Bill P was arguing something entirely different,
>> >which was that money that was spent _by society
>> >as a whole_ on going to Mars was expenditure to
>> >the "consumer" and income to the "producer".
>
>Martin, with all respect, I think you are completely mistaken.
>We know what Powers said, He'd added 2 + 2 and gotten
>5 . I think we know just as well what he meant.

Ah, well. I never KNOW what people mean, so I'll speak for myself. Of
course, sometimes I don't even know what _I_ mean. But it's worth a
try. It's a point on which we have a fundamental disagreement--and I
do believe that it's a point on which you (Bill W) have a
disagreement with yourself.

> > >
>> People who complain about the cost of going to Mars are really

complaining

>> about a redistribution of income that they do not agree with.
>
>Nonsense. I am complaining about waste. What does going to Mars

accomplish?

>What will it cost? Trillions and Trillions is what someone said.
>
>...I think, all in all, I will stick to my idea that I would rather see
>children have health
>care rather than see the money spent sending a few warm bodies to Mars.

Martin says,

What is not clear to me is the _money_ argument that spending
trillions on sending people to Mars means any less money available to
spend on health for children. Every single dollar spent on the Mars
project goes into someone's pocket and right out again, as if it had
never been through the Mars project at all. It buys other people's
employment, and it buys more taxes for the government to use on
socially useful things. The money just passes through other people's
pockets than it would without the Mars project. It doesn't vanish,
and it's as easily spent on childrens' health after it has gone
through the Mars project as before, or instead of.

I know, I know. Money isn't something that is subject to Leakages.

If there is an argument that these two objectives (Mars and Children)
conflict, it is on the non-money side of the transaction flows. The
_potential_ problem is that the Mars project takes intellectual,
industrial, or raw natural resources to such an extent that there is
less available for application to childrens' health.

Thank you Martin.

For example,

some bright student might decide to take up astrophysics or
xenobiology rather than cancer research. That would be a cost of the
Mars Project to children's health. So would it be if the Mars project
gobbled up, say, all the molybdenum, before it was found that a
particular molybdenum product would reverse the effects of birth
defects.

Sure.

>The people who favor continuing maintaince of the Hubble telescope have

come

>to a similiar viewpoint.

Actually, they came to the viewpoint that if the President is going
to insist on spending the money on the Mars project, and if the
shuttle's safety can't be assured within the current budget,

Just, as unfortunately "spending the money" for Mars is going to me that
"within the current budget" less room is going to be availible for human
services.

then the

President's budget for them has not allotted enough money to do both

Right.

Hubble and Mars. It's a political decision, with no influence from
national or international economic necessities.

But, of course, it is a "political decision." And, so is Allan Greenspan's
recent remarks about we can't afford to pay the current level of social
security benefits. But, whatever the numbers or the logic-- the arguments
are already being made. So, why not, "political decision" or no, take the
money, ( the trillions and trillions that were mentioned ) and fund _both_
children and _and_ old persons benefits?

And, why is it that despite this discussion having gone on for several
months no one has made a sustained argument for _why_ go to Mars-- aside
from the one Powers' made that it would get our eyes out of the mud.

Bill Williams