Do the sums behind Musk’s space colony mission add up?

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How much could a freight carrier charge to blow up an order from Earth to Mars?

Elon Musk Said Lex Fridman, a U.S. podcaster, established a “self-sustaining civilization” on Mars in December, 1,000 times the cost of flying goods on Mars from the current $ 1 billion to about $ 1 million per ton. It states that it will remain a science fiction until it goes down. Ideally much less. ” Even taking into account the recent surge in costs that boring trade to the old Earth, cool millions are still quite expensive. Musk believes that one million tonnes of material will be needed to build the infrastructure needed for what he admits to be the “executor-upper” of the planet. That’s a total of $ 1 trillion. A fairly expensive price tag.

However, according to Musk, it is important for humankind to realize a life on Mars by reducing transportation costs. Minimizing the cost per ton “may seem like a commercial purpose, but it really needs to be optimized,” Musk said. In any case, the billionaire cheerfully explained that humans are destined unless we “go to multiple planets.” As Musk mentioned in his podcast, it is illogical not to prepare a self-sustaining colony on Mars.

Musk was not the first to try to price the cost of shipping goods from Mars and beyond.

Voyage between solar systems will cast “a whole new consideration,” wrote economist Paul Krugman. Cheek tongue paper For example, given the theory of time dilation, how do you calculate the interest rate of a commodity that is moving and trading at a speed close to the speed of light?

Krugman admits that his theory corresponds to “a serious analysis of ridiculous subjects.” .. .. It’s the opposite of what’s usually done in economics. Musk, on the other hand, only admits that he may not live long enough to see his dreams come true.

But even if his plans need to accomplish “a series of little miracles,” musk deserves to be taken seriously, says author Casey Handmer. How to Industrialize Mars: Strategies for Self-Sufficiency Former software engineer at Nasa.

StarshipIt consists of a spacecraft fixed on a reusable rocket designed by Mask’s SpaceX to carry 100 tonnes of cargo per day. Once in orbit, the spacecraft requires 10 rocket trips to refuel. For the total musk to work, the rocket would need to fire 100,000 times at an average cost of less than $ 10 million per trip to bring 1 million tonnes of material to Mars.

And while $ 1 trillion sounds pretty good, it’s U.S. military annual budget.. “Musk has enough money to send a few ships and a few people, enough to get off to a good start,” says Handmer.

But what is a truly self-reliant reconciliation that Musk often says is his ultimate goal? In the first place, it is impossible to live in conditions that are orders of magnitude more difficult to live than the summit of Mt. Everest. According to NASA, the average temperature on Mars is minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit, but at the summit of Everest in winter it is minus 32 degrees Celsius. Anything other than a “highly industrialized country”, including “nuclear submarine-level technology,” says Handmer.

“In principle, with a fixed budget per year, any number of people can operate a space station or Mars base and continue to send light meals.” However, doing so is risky, costly and necessary to survive. Stockpiling good products occupies valuable space. “The purpose is a period of time in which you can survive if: [the supply chain between the two planets] Increased interruptions as the colony grows, which may be sufficient if the rocket stops completely [the colonisers] success. “Handmer estimates that one million people, all of whom will need hard-working workers.

Handmer has devised the following graph, which plots the ratio of the mass of locally manufactured goods to the required number of people. His best guess is that it takes 100,000 colonists to reach a level where Martian colonists can produce relatively simple industrial products.

According to Handmer, for example, 100,000 Martian settlers are needed to start manufacturing everything from plastic to metal. The Y-axis plots the percentage of mass of locally manufactured goods. © Dr. Casey Handmer

Sinead O’Sullivan, another NASA graduate currently teaching space business and economics at Harvard Business School, argued that it was impossible to know the actual cost of building a colony on Mars. I’m more skeptical.

Musk may be familiar with complex and finite manufacturing and engineering problems, but he is not very good at “complex problems influenced by unknown unknowns”. She states: “Relationships with humans are usually complicated because we do not act in a rational way.”

“People are thinking,’Oh, if we can understand the right price to live on Mars.’” But that’s the wrong question to answer, “says O’Sullivan — and there isn’t much useful work that humans who couldn’t do with robots can do there.

“To know if it is economically feasible to send things to Mars, regardless of cost, we need to know the other side of the equation. What is the economic benefit? Currently not.” “Pricing” will be what Musk can pay. ”

The real problem, she says, is “how to create a whole new market with no supply or demand right now and inject some utility into it.” Even under the dream scenario of the emergence of this market, even a relatively closed economy on earth like North Korea is still difficult to stand on, given that it still imports large quantities of basic commodities. Probably.

Reducing the cost per ton of goods to Mars is a major engineering challenge. However, if you think too much about interplanetary fares before clarifying why you need to live on the red planet in the first place, you will be “ideally living in the world of Elon Musk.”

Do the sums behind Musk’s space colony mission add up? Source link Do the sums behind Musk’s space colony mission add up?

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