Thursday, February 28, 2013

Complete sum up

Again, this was the strategy: offer a plan that does nothing to alter our dangerous debt course while pretending the opposite.
Actions, not words.

Highlighting the missing ingredient

I have posted somewhere that the only missing ingredient to a mars colonization mission is the lander. One great thing about the Inspiration Mars mission is that it will highlight this missing ingredient. It's a difficult challenge, but SpaceX has taken the lead with it's Mars One lander designed to land 2.5 mt on mars with up to four crew.

Since we're talking about the Inspiration Mars mission and landers, here's a thought... Include an addition Mars One Lander to provide redundancy and land those supplies on mars during the flyby? Or would that be too much of a temptation?

Update: Feasibility Analysis. Comparing it with my ref mission:
  • 12 m3 of private space for each (and 400+ m3 of common space which includes space suit storage.) vs. Less than 7 m3 shared by two (but without bulky space suits and storage for same.)
  • 2.5 mt per person (includes self, food and supplies for after landing) for 240+ days vs just food 2.7 mt hydrated (682 kg per person, freeze dried) for 501 days.
  • Never comes close to venus orbit vs. does.
Moving the goal posts...

A lot of people will say this can't be done and the crew will die. Of course, if they do, this does not prove their assertion. Others will go straight to the second of Clarke's law. It can be done but it's not worth doing. Then, once we have colonists on mars with a thriving community they will move on to the third step...

"We knew it all along."

The challenge of this mission is funding. It appears, and Tito agrees, there is no likelihood of profit. The good news is there is plenty of profit for colonization if they embrace it.

If they do, the solar system will be filled in little time and history will record this as the actual beginning of the SPACE AGE.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

That's why

“They don’t need permission from anybody for an interplanetary trip.”
Let that sink in with people that have made themselves slaves to the nanny states.
Inspiration Mars need not confine itself to their 2018 deadline.
So if they can't raise all the funds by then, it isn't over.
The National Geographic Society is in talks with Tito's Inspiration Mars Foundation about a potential partnership...
Sounds about right. Keeping focused.

3000 square meters

That's how much solar panels Mars One proposes to supply four colonists with their needs. At 10% efficiency (50 Watts per square meter) that would be a total of 150 kw. That's not a lot and certainly not enough for industry.

My fictional account provides 20 year life thorium reactors (about 200 kg. ea.) fitted into each of seven landers. The reactors aren't fictional. This would provide 1750 kw. plus whatever solar panels are also brought. Still not really enough for industry.

But they can start industry by concentrating that power. They do that by using their solar power to produce methane. Methane engines can then produce all the power they need for industrial processes when they need it.

How to make a home nuclear reactor.

Inspiration mars

Will make it's announcement today. From it's website...
Inspiration mars will generate knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It will encourage and embolden all Americans to believe again in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring the next generation of explorers to pursue their destiny through STEM education. Now is the time!
Tito's, entire net worth [$200m] is about what this project will cost. Wow. Update: Tito promises to fund the first two years of the project.

Five years! The American frontier spirit is not dead. Does it require a life coach?

Does it surprise me that the motivators are all girls? Nope. How do you think the west was really won?

Inside the mind of a space tycoon.

A NASA lunar staging location for mars?

Update: from Rand.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My puppy

Now 14 months old, born Dec. 23, 2011. I just discovered I have a superstition.

I wanted to include a picture, but I can't. It seems that many times in the past, when I've taken a picture of a puppy I've grown attached to, it has died shortly after. I didn't know I had this superstition until now. I'm not that kind of guy, but there it is. I just can't do it. But I can talk about him.

At 7000 ft. elevation it is below freezing at night this time of year. My puppy Max (Maximus Pooponus) has a five gallon water bucket that gets a few inches of ice on it over night. Max just licks a hole in that to get to the water which provides me a handhold to pull the icecap (near a gallon) out of his bucket (adding water before and after.) I worry about it being too cold for him, but he dispels that worry every day when I see him, happy to see me. That is a great feeling.

When he was real little I used to keep him in my RV. He destroyed that RV when he was nothing in size compared to today. Chewed everything, including all the wiring under the dash. I had a bed sitting on a box spring in the back that he used to sleep under. One morning I came and thought I'd found him dead. He had chewed on the netting under the box spring and wrapped it around his neck hanging himself by it. I crawled half under that bed to see what I could do. He wasn't moving or making a sound and I was sure he was dead. I couldn't tear the netting so I had to untwist him and he didn't move at all. Finally I got him out from under the bed. He was alive. Then he got big enough to chew the curtains. It was time to move him to the yard.

He loved it. The first thing he did was start chewing the wood that supported the A/C unit in one window. Had to fix that. I buy him toys but he ignores those. His favorite thing is to chase the plastic water bottles after I empty them into his five gallon water bucket. He particularly likes the one gallon ice tea containers with their thick plastic and handle. We've had family dogs when I was a kid, but he's my first puppy. I'll be 54 the end of next month. But I do not confuse him with being a person. Still, he makes me happy. Not much does.

Sorry, but you get no picture. I'm very disappointed in myself about that.

Mars Corp

Going through this list I came upon this paper which has many ideas similar to mine.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thomas Sowell makes another great point

Private insurance companies that sell annuities are forced by law to set aside enough assets to cover the cost of the annuities they have promised to pay. But nobody can force the government to do that — and most governments do not.
Why can't we force the government to do that? Don't they work for us?
We may not have time to recover from our short-sighted policies.
Let's hope these words never become prophetic.

Time marches on

I was just looking at the Mars Society's FAQ which says...

Estimates of the cost of a human Mars exploration program: $450 billion [for the Space Exploration Initiative] to $30 billion [for Mars Direct.] Mars Direct achieves its low cost in two ways: by using only existing technologies, adapted for the specifics of a Mars mission, and by generating rocket fuel for the return mission.

Zubrin fudged existing tech. with the assumption of heavy lift, but we all have to fudge a bit since existing tech. isn't quite there yet. My reference mission knocks us down from $30b to under $5b. First, as Buzz says, the Pilgrims didn't turn around at Plymouth rock so that saves half the launches. Second, by choosing technology with a better certainty of its costs. The SLS has wasted a lot of money and will continue to until its eventual termination. SpaceX already has bigger rockets on the drawing board but will only make them when they make economic sense. Until then, the Falcon Heavy should define the limits for our mission hardware giving us a known mass for a known cost (within about 20%.)

Now instead of rocket fuel for a return trip, we are creating engine fuel from solar panels. This fuel is used for creating energy for industrial processes instead of wasting it on return trips.

  • Zubrin's cost is $7.5b per tourist (they aren't staying.) Four at a time.
  • Mars One's cost is $1.5b per colonist. Four at a time.
  • Mine are $100m per colonist. Forty-eight at a time (to really get things started.)

$100m per colonist is a state change from too expensive to self financing. Self financing because it requires nothing more than impulse buying that has already been demonstrated by the American public. They already spend $25 on worthless mars deeds. $100 an acre for the real deal is not even a hurdle. The only hurdle is some entity with the resources to see the light.

Time continues to pass. Still we wait.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

15 barriers to space settlement

The N.S.S. has a document titled 15 barriers to space settlement. They are not.

1) Government involvement is not required or desired.
2) Incentives for private capital investment exist, but require a non slave mentality.
3) Affordability is a function not just of cost but of return. It's affordable now.
4) Lack of sovereignty is a good thing. Free you mind.
5) Self insure from a country that allows it.
6) Launch from a country that isn't a nanny state.
7) The public will become interested when they have a reason to be interested.
8) Common heritage of mankind is marxist bullshit, to be completely ignored.
9) Informed consent is all you need.
10) Not required. 2 mt of supplies per person will get you to mars.
11) See item one.
12) SpaceX has demonstrated engine out performance. Otherwise see item nine.
13) Colonist are beyond jurisdiction. See item four.
14) Non Sequitur, other than as a justification for a humanity backup.
15) Colonists will demonstrate ISRU immediately after landing.

None of these barriers actually is. The biggest barrier is the psychological slave mentality. Fortunately, not everybody has that slave mentality.


5) Liability costs make things more difficult but is not a show stopper.
6) Why create a problem when we don't know it will exist?

Doesn't this say it all?

They boo'd this?

How is it any of your business what I choose to put in my body if I’m not affecting anyone else?” one student asked.

“First of all, for alleged individualists, you’re very mob-like,” Coulter snarked. “Second of all, it is my business because we are living in a welfare state … Right now, I have to pay for, it turns out, coming down the pike, your health care. I have to pay for your unemployment when you can’t hold a job. I have to pay for your food, for your housing. Yeah, it’s my business!”

Yes, If others didn't have to pay for it, it would not be their business. But if they are forced to pay for it, it is their business. This is not complicated.

The other part is the assumption that it doesn't affect other people. When my alcoholic siblings call my mother at 3 am to resolve a domestic problem... it affects her.

When someone incapacitates themselves and gets behind the wheel of a car... it affects people.

Pass it to know what's in it.

You must cover all children to the age of 26, but spouses, not so much.

Enumeration of rights

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Our founders knew that "inasmuch as it would be impossible to list all rights it would be dangerous to list some because there would be those who would seize on the absence of the omitted rights to assert that government was unrestrained as to those."

They were prophets.

“the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons.”

In other news, the right of the people to eat is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of food.

Restraining government was central to our founders

Saturday, February 23, 2013


No kidding.

Lie no. (what are we up to?)

Amazing they think they can get away with it.

Not enough

Rand Paul can't even get a pledge for something that should have criminal penalties.

Totalitarian ambitions

What? You didn't know? More.

Public really is public

Ask Sasha.

2018: mars flyby for two

Michael O nails it...
The leap in knowledge of space travel in general would be worth it, to say nothing of the sweeping riddance of any doubts that it could be done. You “touch” Mars in this fashion, and you’d have a “double dare” for someone to land, and land to stay.
Just five years away is certainly doable. I hope the two survive.

Rand has an article.

Friday, February 22, 2013

U.S.N. sailing

We know the famous U.S.S. Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. Is there any place in the modern U.S.N. for motor/sail boats? Something that would combine a PT boat (although with modern armament)...

With a sailing yacht...
Red Path 44
The purpose of course, is to provide me a really cheap surplus boat after the navy builds thousands of them. Then, she could come...
Update: Would it make any sense?

At its peak, the U.S. Navy was operating 6,768 ships (about 11% were PT boats.) As a reminder, even with all of those ships, if it hadn't been for our code breakers and some fortune, we could very possibly have lost that war. Today it has 288 ships with the numbers projected to go down. 10 carrier groups (down from 11) can't cover the oceans of the world so we often find ourselves out of position when trouble starts. The loss of a single aircraft carrier ($4.5b not counting aircraft) from a single missile would be a severe blow to our navy further limiting our ability to fight on several fronts.

The PT boat had more "firepower-per-ton" than any other vessel in the U.S.N. With 16 rockets and 16 reloads they had as much firepower as a destroyer's 5 in (130 mm) guns and were dirt cheap in comparison. We could afford to build a lot of them for the price of a single aircraft carrier, but with a much wider footprint.

PT 658, with a planing hull that is still in use today, is an example from WW2 which had 2 officers and 14 crew. Full-load displacement for some PTs was up to 56 tons. The very smallest regular navy ships are 1,000 to 2,000 tons.

The downside of these vessels was logistics. They could burn up 3000 gals of fuel in 6 to 12 hours. To mitigate, why not consider a smaller boat with sails and modern electronics added?

Assume one small officer cabin and 3 hot swap bunks for up to seven crew. It has two 2000 hp engines and 2000 gals of fuel but most of the time operates on sails and could easily be mistaken for a pleasure boat. They may even have an unarmed civilian version available to add to the confusion (or not.) It has no torpedoes using concealed missiles instead. Normal cruising speed is 5 to 10 knots under sail (designed to roll up in seconds) and 30 to 40 knots with engines. It has a steel hull capable of surviving RPG hits. The crew is armed, plus has a number of man portable anti-air/ship/tank weapons in storage. Guns and cannons would also be included on mounts that raise them from concealment for use. The low speed under sail is mitigated by the fact that these ships can be prepositioned if we have enough of them. Nothing is faster than already being there. Another mitigating factor is that the crews would swap out leaving the ships on post. Even satellites have limits to what they can watch. Where one of these squadrons are posted you would have 24 hour coverage (assume a squadron operates as a 25 mile circle with a 50 mile intel range) of about 49,000 (3.14*125^2) sq. miles of area . Putting some electronics at the crows nest at the top of the sail mast gives it more seeing range than a conventional PT boat.

It operates as a squadron of 12 boats and a larger supply boat (this has only one engine and operates under sail almost 100% of the time.) Hundreds of squadrons could fill a niche that currently only 3 U.S.N. ships [do not] fill at a lower cost with greater capability.

Primary purpose for being

The key to the usage of these boats is an advanced communications network with software that allows a controller (perhaps on a regular navy vessel) to know the exact position and situation of every boat, with both a squadron and world view (and any intermediate level) and the ability to use the fixed missile assets in a coordinated manner. It would replace and surpass many of the capabilities of the 3 littoral ships currently in the U.S.N. 10 squadrons would cost about the same as one littoral ship ($460 m.) with much less operational costs. Actually, they would work very well in combination with littoral ships (which provide other air and sea assets.)

The navy would like to have over 50 littoral ships. For the same cost they could have 500 squadrons or 6000 sailing PTs which would offer the navy much more flexibility in assignments.

Some have suggested a ship of this type would be an easy target for pirates in speedboat with RPGs. Which is funny since taking these out might be one of the primary uses for these boats. The point is our regular navy is unsuited for littoral waters and can't even cover most hot spots [or potential] around the world.

To suggest these ships are not survivable, consider what the navy has to say about their current littoral ships: Pentagon's director of Operational Test and Evaluation found that neither design was expected to "be survivable in a hostile combat environment" and that neither ship could withstand the Navy's full ship shock trials.

During WW2 many Japanese warships would not operate in water that had PT boats because it was too dangerous for them. With modern missiles, the same would be true today. On land, we don't just use MBTs. We also use APCs which carry a pretty good punch themselves. While the regular navy can take on anything they might have to face, that doesn't include shallow water.

Like it or not, we need expendable ships.

On an unrelated note, this is what my brother makes by hand from popsicle sticks and old underware...

My phone has a really lousy camera. I've got to get a better one.
You can not really appreciate the details in this model.

I asked, part six

There is no word for a small self-sufficient high-technology society because none exist.
A brilliant observation by Trent which requires a brilliant response. Here it is...

Nothing exists, until it does.

I am imagining a society on mars in the way that I am because that is what is required for it to exist. All other plans that I know of envision a soviet style base dependent on the earth that ultimately can not survive. All of them. For one reason, because they see NASA as being a part or even the leader. NASA which was based on a military model to beat the Russians. Not the free commercial model that has been** America's unique greatness. That, for many, is too hard to see (especially if they are part of the other model where they work.) SpaceX was too hard for many to see, now it exists. Begun in 2002, It has been doing firsts, every year of it's existance. I expect they will be first to put a commercial lander on mars as well.

  • The Space Settlement Initiative would create a company town writ large, not a free society (although they hope one could develop in time.)
  • The Mars One project creates a company town writ small, starting with four colonist in 2023. It is dependent on life support modules from earth. This is part of the reason Trent has described it (and while I support it, I must agree as it is currently envisioned) as a suicide mission.
  • Zubrin, of the Mars Society, wants to build a railroad to mars using big NASA rockets, or send two alone which isn't much different from flags and footprints even if they do spend months instead of days on mars. While Zubrin has his naysayers, he's a man with ideas.
  • Others have ideas for bases, but freedom is not part of their model. I envision ownership and self sufficiency (from the day they land) as essential for their success and growth. This requires an understanding of an industrial ecology and the required skills the colonists must and can possess. This vision is exactly as Trent describes it... something that does not yet exist. 
The idea itself is fantastical to us - even if we're talking about right here on Earth.
Exactly right, which is why people bring out the Antarctic analogy to refute the idea. But here's why Antarctica is a bad analogy...

Thousands of people see mars as a place they would like to live because it has all the resources for life and provides a frontier. Antarctica does not. That is the justification: people want to live there. Of course, it's only a legitimate justification if they aren't asking other people to pay for it. Assuming they pay for it themselves, no other justification is required.

Nothing exists until it does is profound. When I was young, I used to create jobs within companies for myself. Those jobs didn't previously exist (because technology and society were in flux in those years.) One time a company sent me one of those "thanks, but no thanks" letters... after I got the job. It was as an aide to one of the engineers that I interviewed with. He was tasked with doing a machine feasibility study of all the equipment at their Tucson plant. The idea being, with this study the sales department could better price the custom beryllium oxide parts they sold. If some part required a higher tolerance than our machines and labor could produce, it would alert sales that more than the usual procedure was required to quote a price so they wouldn't lose money from some go getter salesperson.

It is common that something new is hard to envision. The usual response is to explain how it could never work (until eventually the naysayer will claim it was their idea all along.) Human history is a chain of events of things people thought would never work. Ask Clarke.

Yes, it is all about ideas becoming reality. It's always about ideas becoming reality.

Part One.

**Will it be in the future?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lending requires discrimination

Another word for discrimination (without the baggage) is discernment.
The rule would establish a controversial standard for determining if discrimination was taking place in mortgage lending. Critics say such a standard would lead to more lending by banks to borrowers less able to repay their debts.
Lending is something that should never involve a third party. The lender has every right, and more so the responsibility, to make a careful choice about who may borrow. Especially, when loaning other people's money.

The solution is nor to force lenders to follow some government guidelines. The solution is more competition. If some are being unfairly discriminated against, they are a business opportunity for other lenders. This is just another example of governmental idiocy.

Noble purposes

I really hate depending on hear-say. I'd much rather see for myself, so today I thought I'd take a look at Dodd-Frank to see what the fuss is about. It's a big bill. I consider myself a lousy writer, but seeing the text of this sure improves my self esteem. Let's just look at one part and it's noble purpose (text of bill follows commentary)...

They can take over a financial institution if it: could pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States.

How would that be possible if real competition existed? Isn't that the real problem?

It's possible, according to the bill, because of: (G) the nature, scope, size, scale, concentration, interconnectedness, and mix of the activities of the company;

Again, wouldn't real competition eliminate this possibility?

What about the proposed solution?: shall be supervised by the Board of Governors

So, no danger there. Replacing officers of the company (who should be in competition with other companies... mitigating collusion) with politician's assignees fixes the problem? How exactly?

Doesn't this exacerbate the problem of collusion? If not outright, in practice?

Interconnected, is what all economies are. Competition is the solution. 

============== START OF EXAMPLE ==============


(a) U.S. Nonbank Financial Companies Supervised by the Board of Governors-

(1) DETERMINATION- The Council, on a nondelegable basis and by a vote of not fewer than 2/3 of the voting members then serving, including an affirmative vote by the Chairperson, may determine that a U.S. nonbank financial company shall be supervised by the Board of Governors and shall be subject to prudential standards, in accordance with this title, if the Council determines that material financial distress at the U.S. nonbank financial company, or the nature, scope, size, scale, concentration, interconnectedness, or mix of the activities of the U.S. nonbank financial company, could pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States.

(2) CONSIDERATIONS- In making a determination under paragraph (1), the Council shall consider--

(A) the extent of the leverage of the company;

(B) the extent and nature of the off-balance-sheet exposures of the company;

(C) the extent and nature of the transactions and relationships of the company with other significant nonbank financial companies and significant bank holding companies;

(D) the importance of the company as a source of credit for households, businesses, and State and local governments and as a source of liquidity for the United States financial system;

(E) the importance of the company as a source of credit for low-income, minority, or underserved communities, and the impact that the failure of such company would have on the availability of credit in such communities;

(F) the extent to which assets are managed rather than owned by the company, and the extent to which ownership of assets under management is diffuse;

(G) the nature, scope, size, scale, concentration, interconnectedness, and mix of the activities of the company;

(H) the degree to which the company is already regulated by 1 or more primary financial regulatory agencies;

(I) the amount and nature of the financial assets of the company;

(J) the amount and types of the liabilities of the company, including the degree of reliance on short-term funding; and

(K) any other risk-related factors that the Council deems appropriate.

============== END OF EXAMPLE ==============

Perspective for Luddites

Just read it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Good questions

Deadly answers.

Legality of private claims

In order to reason about anything you need to have some foundational principles. If those principles are wrong, your reasoning is suspect. In order to proceed with my argument, it must be understood that ownership always begins with a claim.

By what legal right can an individual make a property claim? John Locke answered with his 'Labor theory of property.' I don't accept that reasoning as valid, anymore than the discredited marxist 'labor theory of value' is valid. Labor has nothing to do with either. Did I just dispute the famous John Locke? Yes and you can as well because...

It is much more fundamental than that. Ownership is the ability to withstand challenges denying a claim of ownership. Nothing more, nothing less. Legality is simply acceptance of this fact followed by legal recognition. It doesn't matter how many pieces of paper you have saying you have title to a thing if some entity takes it away from you. It does matter if you can defend your claim. Do you accept that the Taiwanese own their property? If the Chinese take it away, would they own it? Would any discussion matter? Time would make it legal either way even if under dispute.

We think of nations making claims, but before nations existed, individuals made claims and others recognized those claims. Even owned property can become someone else's by possession. Unowned property even more so.

A claim can be, strong or weak, true or false, or just plain silly.

A claim becomes legal when you make it legal by the way you go about it. For example, a group can agree to terms. That is a legal contract. It is no violation of law to claim unowned property since that's how all property becomes owned. The point is to mitigate disputes. You do that by going about in an orderly and reasonable manner. That's all law is about.

Or are you going to accept the argument that only someone else, not you, can claim property? That is ridiculous. Free your mind.

Morality of claims

You have conditioned responses. We all do. Pavlov demonstrated these can be trained. Mostly, you have trained yourself along with environmental influences. A conditioned response tends to shut down thought. A conditioned response: is, what it is. Generally we wouldn't define them as either good or bad. I'd say most are good, because, hey, you're a good person, so they'd mostly have to be. Right?

A decent person respects the property of others. If you see something you want, as a civilized person, what is your response? Unless you're a thief, it would not be... "I want it. I'm taking it. It's mine." How does that last quote make you feel?

Update: Why do I ask? Because conditioned responses substitute feelings for thinking. Considering how you feel helps you to come to terms with your own conditioned responses. It also helps you realize you can think about them rather than just reacting. /update

Generally, if you want something, you consider buying it. That is a conditioned response and I will now show how it has influenced your thoughts.

How does a thing come to be owned? Buying it is the most common way. Making it from other things you own is another. As a matter of fact, making something for others to buy is so common it might be considered the end of the story. It isn't.

A thing can be bought and sold many times producing a chain of ownership, but making it is not the first link in the chain. Logically, buying the materials to make something isn't the first link in the chain either (the things you bought are part of a chain itself.) The first link in the chain is unavoidable and always the same. You should have guessed it by now...

Yes, the first link in the chain of ownership is always a CLAIM of ownership. If something is unowned, somebody must claim it for the chain of ownership to begin. How can something unavoidable be wrong? It isn't, but because we generally don't engage in claiming, letting others do it; we have conditioned ourselves to not think about it as a possibility. It generally isn't.

If you're thinking, no, you buy land and mine it or raise crops on it, you have not found the head of the chain. That chain has a specific name, chain of title. How did it start? At some point, not as a purchase and not as a grant (a grant must always have a claim as the beginning of it's chain.) The beginning of ownership must always have begun, somewhere in time, as a claim. It is unavoidable.

But you've conditioned yourself not to think to claim possession and ownership of something as something you can do. Generally that's a good thing. It keeps you out of trouble, but it can be a bad thing as well.

We are not colonizing space mainly because it costs too much. Space that is full of property with a potential value far exceeding the cost of it. In most aspects of life, when the revenue is higher than the cost it gets done. As soon as the realization sinks in with somebody that has the capital, it is going to get done. But today we wait for the light bulbs to go off. Considering the wealth that is waiting, that can be very frustrating. Some of that wealth, even if only a very small percentage, would be highly likely to go to you.

Our conditioned response is preventing us from letting the realization sink in that we can colonize space now even at the very high cost that exists today. A cost that will only come down after we get started in earnest. It is a moral imperative for the future of mankind that those claims begin as soon as we can.

Another conditioned response is thinking only nations can claim land. Not so. Historically they have, but that doesn't mean only they have the right. In truth, individuals have been making claims long before any nation even existed. What they have is the might, but so do you and others when you band together in an agreement. That agreement has the force of law as any contract does. To challenge your right, they have to make a legal argument (or take by force.)

Accept the argument that all ownership chains begin with claims and we can proceed to the next step... the legality of private claims.

Didn't he take an oath?

Murray said it will take time to condition the public to surrender their Second Amendment rights.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Throwing the alarm clock across the room

Because nothing will interfere with most people's sleep.

Golden Spike Juxtaposed

Compare this...
The company's business model has a heavy reliance on existing space-equipment design and technology. It also lists a product price tag of $1.5 billion for a two-person expedition to the moon. At that price, Stern said, the company could recoup all of its development costs, which he estimates to be $7 billion to $8 billion for the project.
To this...
The goal is to raise $240,000...
So, if I didn't screw up the decimal places, they are crowd sourcing 0.003% of their projected costs. It just makes me go, hmmm...

Yes, for $20m you could orbit the earth as a tourist, but for only a measly 37.5 times more you can be Neal or Buzz!

Hey, but if you only want to go one way, Elon could probably put a Dragon with you in it on the moon for less than $200m. Go full Monty and get a crater named for you at the same time. Or see if, for just $550m more, Golden Spike will bring ya back?

When Obama goes after the gas companies...

This is a reference.

Look at actions, not words.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Capital punishment for programmers...

...that change hijack your browsers settings and add taskbars when you install their software. But horse whip them first. Who's with me?

Selling mars

Will my settlement plan work? Only if the following two interrelated assumptions are true.
  1. Land can be sold to speculators on earth for near or above break even.
  2. Governments can not prevent those sales.
I assert the land will have value because neighbors will be in possession of their land. More than that however, is that people are already making impulse purchases for worthless martian deeds. Break even only requires impulse buying, yet is an investment in something of worth. This is not a serious objection.

I'm also absolutely certain that governments, including the U.N., will try to insert a monkey wrench into the works. It will have some affect, but ultimately it will not matter and they will be forced to recognize the many owners titles. This is because of a number of factors.
  • Speculators will buy, the bolder first and the more timid later. Trading will occur.
  • The land is beyond any governments jurisdiction. Yes, they will claim jurisdiction over their citizens (and subjects... another name for slave.) But these are permanent colonists; in the worst case they will just let their governments know they are no longer citizens (after first moving any assets away to an agreeable protector on earth.) This doesn't change if governments play hardball to freeze assets. Some will get caught in that net, but most will not. Word will spread fast.
  • The registry keeps track of chain of title. That registry is also out of reach of any earth government. Other title companies will provide back up over time.
  • No earth government is going to send force to mars. Ain't gonna happen. They aren't going to spend the money required to be successful. It would be a PR nightmare. Martians would be considered heroes by people of all nations (some of which may even have relatives there.)
  • Governments will only be able to seize assets of the transportation companies if those companies are foolish enough to let them. First they only fund a company with enough money to buy tickets from independent vehicle providers who will also be nearly untouchable. Their assets are the land they claim on mars and recorded in the registry. Both are out of reach of governments and well defended.
  • Can governments stop launches? Not really, they could only delay them until a work around is found (some friendly island country.) If promoted as only a supply mission the government will fold fast (because no government will want to be seen as starving heroes to death.)
  • Eventually, reluctant governments are going to see the light and recognize owner's title. When that happens land values are going to spike up.
Also check out Industry on mars.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


John says,
I don't quite see your concept as an answer, and yet I believe you have the germ of something that could be the answer. The invention of the corporation and insurance was a major part of the reason that Europe came to dominate the world for a few centuries. Your concept might well develop into something with similar results.
He writes good stuff.

This is both encouraging and helpful, not to mention a bit frustrating. It is an important challenge. If I can define the concept well enough so that John accepts it, others will as well. Then this seed of an idea will grow and have a chance of fruition. What is John getting at?

What am I missing from John's perspective or what idea am I not expressing well enough? First I have to really understand John's point. Let's start with insurance.

A common misconception is that insurance is a lottery you can win. In theory it's only suppose to make you whole (or close to it) never better than you started (unless you're a mobster with a match.)

My understanding is it started with underwriting, literally. A person shipping goods would bring his cargo manifest to a place where people were willing to accept the risk of the cargo arriving safely for a negotiated percentage fee of the cargo. This management of risk allowed companies shipping cargo to remain in business after common disasters. Business stability is an advantage over others without this stability. Does this relate somehow to my concept? Yes, I believe it does in a number of ways.

What about incorporation? Interestingly, in some ways it plays a similar role by contributing to business stability. A corporation is a person in a legal sense. One that may live beyond it's founders. Death is disruptive. It also provides some protection of it's equity holders from law suits. I suspect this protection is much greater when a company is publicly held.

I'm fumbling in the dark a bit here. It is an imposition to ask, but I really need to know clear objections [hint, hint, nudge, nudge.] John's previous questions had a common theme... bullies. I believe insurance and incorporation continues that theme to some extent but perhaps from a different angle.

How does my settlement charter address those questions? What is it's legal foundation? I will start by making some assertions (providing easy targets!)
  1. There are two types of law: man made and self evident. Man made law is often just tyranny in disguise. Especially when trying to apply it outside it's jurisdiction.
  2. Anybody can claim anything, but for a claim to be valid it must stand up to challenges. All claims must be able to endure challenges.
  3. Historically, claims have been successfully made even when another owner is known to exist; if it can be shown the owner has abandoned their own claim of ownership by neglect. Where there is no owner and the claim is reasonable it may have no challengers at all. By embracing the settlement charter now, it has a real chance to establish a precedent and define a reasonable claim size that applies everywhere in the universe. But more important, can be enforced everywhere. We already have enforcement where chain of title is clear. Chain of title always starts with a claim (or a grant which comes after a sovereign claim.)
  4. The claim size was chosen for balance. Too large, it makes the land worthless. Too small and it doesn't provide sufficient funding. Agreeing to the terms means supply is restricted and value is increased. If you embrace the fundamental concept; the proper size would be the point of argument. 
  5. Historically, both sovereigns and individuals have made land claims. In both cases, they may have lost those claims to challenges or retained them beyond any challenge until their ownership was protected by force of law.
  6. Sovereigns do not have divine rights above individuals. What they have is greater force. Still, this force is part of reality and must be addressed properly.
  7. The strongest claims are claims made under clearly defined terms agreed to by many people and secured by possession. This the settlement charter does.
  8. The point of the settlement charter is not to put the force of law on the side of the colonists. That already exists because of thousands of years of historical precedent. The point is to use that force of law to establish the right of the transportation company to fund their operations by their own legal rights of ownership which includes the right to sell to others. Today many entities are trying to establish that they have the right to decide who owns what (or defacto ownership by saying no one can.) This is a battle that must be won or slavery will be the result (or perhaps just the current stagnation.)
  9. Once ownership is established, property will have value and can increase in value in various ways. As more colonists arrive, they will create more value that will have a snowball effect.
Let me take a break for a moment and discuss these points a bit...

Yes (3) means I also believe that rocks under a sq. km. in surface area should be able to be claimed by a single person or corporation. Actually, most rocks will probably be claimed outside of any charter (it's a big solar system with lots and lots of rocks.)

Often people simply assume that chain of title (3) starts with a grant. This is false. It always starts with a claim. In the past, governments have made big claims and lots of grants which is what causes the confusion. It doesn't change the facts.

Is there a loophole in the charter (8) that would allow as person to transport themselves and claim 1001 sq. km? No (explicit in the next draft.) What would be the point? This is no different from anyone else making a claim outside the terms of the charter. We don't really care what non members do. They are not under the legal protection provided by the charter which gives value to their property, which in turn provides funding to get them there in the first place. It is not going to be a problem because the charter provides the motivation to get lots of colonist there. No other plan can snowball like this (including the Space Settlement Initiative which is the best of the rest.)

Ok. What about land value to speculators on earth? (without which, there really is no funding.) Let's say the state (any or all) says their title has no value and they don't really own anything. People assume that's possible, but really it is not. Yes, states may claim that, but it does not make it so. The registry insures this. As does it's membership (who are in possession if a reminder is required.) Over time, speculators and governments will have to recognize the title of those following a reasonable protocol. Speculators will take the lead and will trade long before government gets its act together. Also, funding is completely achieved at impulse buy levels (about $100 per half acre plot.) This is totally unlike some paper deed you can buy for $20 but is really worthless. This is backed by people enforcing their possession. Possession that is being developed at a cost that means they will gather with their community to enforce.

BTW, if the S.S.I. does get the blessing of government, which they must wait for, to grab AK sized territories, the members can mostly ignore this because they can easily show neglect over most if not all of that territory. It will of course, make selling parcels to speculators on earth problematic if there is a quarrel. The charter members will win simply because of where they are. Few colonists would choose to take a ride with S.S.I., or other plans, because the charter alternative is better for them. The charter produces a real land rush that no other plan can achieve because of it's inherent positive reinforcement. All colonists arrive with over a million dollars in assets (making them all millionaires [Ok. A bit of handwaving. But I can show it to be true, just not here and now.**] by the accrual accounting method) and each one increases the value of every other ones assets as more arrive.

You know, Trent perceived that my writing lacked depth which may be the problem for John as well. I hope this post helps in that regard? Please ask questions if I've missed the mark.

** Alright, here and now... Trent is such a [mean, mean, mean] bully. :-)
Assume worst case. A colonist arrives with nothing of value. No money in a bank on earth and poorly chosen items in their one metric ton allotment. Nothing... except the right to make a one sq. km. claim, which they do. Oh, and a million dollar space suit (but mentioning that is cheating, isn't it? Even if they could find a buyer, right? So let's say we forget I mentioned it.)

The good news is the rest of the colonists are not quite so stupid and do arrive with other assets. Most colonists will develop a few plots (out of almost 500 they now own) for resale. This begins the upward value of land based on location.

The transportation companies will be marketing their undeveloped land for sale for as much more than $100 per plot as they can get. That means Mr. Moron has a land valuation near $50,000. Not quite a million, but now I show how he gets there.

Mr. Moron doesn't have a home (with life support for four+) when he arrives, so he has to rent a place. Some good news, labor is in short supply so getting a job is no problem. He will be able to pay his rent and his utilities (water, power, oxygen, etc.) Until his first paycheck he can sell off a few undeveloped plots to get by, but should not make a habit of this.

Mr. Moron has an example in all his productive neighbors and realizes he can increase the value of his land with some simple labor starting with making a big ditch on one of his plots. Others are making homes for new arrivals that they will sell to them for about $100k (more or less, with better homes later) making a few percent profit on each ($2000 x 500 plots = our magic number, but not for poor Mr. Moron) and rolling over the cost of materials and labor so they have the funds to develop all their plots over time.

Anyway, Mr. Moron can make his ditch into a lessor valued property that can still sell for more than undeveloped property by selling it to other locals that will develop it further. Eventually, somebody develops a shirt sleeve mall that includes apartments for rent and Mr. Moron sells his space suit. By that time, most martians hardly ever use their space suits anyway except for the percentage that likes working out doors. Also, he may even be able to sell the dirt from the ditch to others that will process it (not for much, but loading a truck is worth something.)

Over time, even Mr. Moron's undeveloped property will sell for ten times what it started out as. That's the history of all properties near a growing town. He just has to hold on to most of it long enough.

Hey here's another thought... can you get a reverse mortgage on a space suit?

Update: Be sure to also read "Selling mars."

Keeping track of the entire internet is such a bother

I really appreciate when somebody takes the time to ask questions. So when John Hare asks...
For instance, if the company can lay claim to a thousand kilometers per colonist delivered, why can’t they just claim the whole thing and be done with it? Why can’t another company just muscle in? What’s stopping the third world from using the UN to tie up the Earth assets claimant companies in court?
I'm embarrassed that I didn't see it and give an appropriate response which I shall do now.

Why can’t they just claim the whole thing?

Because the settlement charter along with the registry are legal entities. The members of the charter, both colonists and transportation company, are agreeing to it's terms. The colonists can make their claims simply by possession and their numbers help enforce the legality of their claims. For the transportation companies claim to be enforceable it also must be reasonable. Limiting their claims by tying them to the colonists claims makes it both reasonable and enforceable.

In other words, they could claim the whole thing, but without the legitimacy of the settlement charter they would lose that claim.

Why can’t another company just muscle in?

They can. So what? Think about how that would work. Anybody can go to mars under their own assumptions. But under the charter you have a growing community, all enforcing the terms of the charter. With 144,000,000 sq. km. available, anyone trying to oppose them clandestinely is going to fail. Most will easily be ignored as new colonists, abiding by the terms of the charter, grow the community. Those opposing will not have any support from members because they lose membership (according to charter terms) if they provide any help to the opposition (think Amish shunning.) You prevent conflict by going around it.

Only members will have claims in the registry (and subsequent chain of title.) I have not yet addressed the issue in the charters terms about land registered but invalidated which must of course be addressed... but that isn't a major problem. This is why questions are good. I will fix this.

BTW, other companies are encouraged to become members of the charter. The registry keeps everybody civil. Just thought of another thing. Settlers that are transported to mars by a non-member company may become members and make their claim since the only requirement on them is to agree to terms, register and make their claim. The non-member company would not have any claim covered by the charter, unless they also became a member and agreed to it's terms. This takes nothing away from any company already transporting under the terms of the charter.

What’s stopping the third world from using the UN to tie up the Earth assets claimant companies in court?

Nothing. There is no solution to stupid. The companies will just have to be smarter. For one thing, they don't have to own any of the vehicles involved. They're just buying tickets. Then, how would the U. N. tie up assets on mars that do not rely on any governments blessings on earth in the first place? That leaves the remaining assets derived from plots sold to people on earth. That's what lawyers are for, but even if they do take every dime from the company... they already spent their dimes on the deal which resulted in property those others can't touch.

The U.N. is going to have to go after everybody, because once the first company shows they own valuable property with the potential for trillions in profit... Stuff the U.N.

How it all works out in reality is anyone's guess.

Update: I know the U.N. is angling for it, but when did they become owners of the universe? Putting them back in the bottle might be the best reason for supporting my settlement charter.

Keep in mind that the settlement charter is a contract and not yet in it's final form. For that, you get lawyers and other documents will surely be required as well. It's the concept that's important at this point.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How's that space program coming along?

From Moon-N-Back...

Rand has an article.

Update: Sober thoughts about practical action.

I asked, part five

How are we ever going to get them to imagine the first colonists [building a high-technology society] on Mars?

We have to if mars is ever going to be colonized successfully. So how?

As Trent correctly point out, mindset is incredibly important.

Mindset is the basis for every human action.

Opening that mindset to new ideas is the purpose of this blog.

Here's an example that might blow some minds.

But the most important change of mindset is understanding that colonization can happen now with everybody involved making profits. Not sometime in the far future; they can prepare to do it now and actually do it in the very near future (well within the decade.) The details are in my many posts, but not yet all the details. We must work as a team to make this happen. I invite your criticisms.


One thing I've learned as a professional computer programmer [past tense] is that the most complicated things are made up of the simplest thing. Things so simple that they are too simple for most people to contemplate.

This is why I use DIY home videos to demonstrate potential mars industries. Most examples are on too small a scale to be very useful for anyone. While examples of large scale industry makes it seem too out of reach for our martian colonists. The thing that's important to understand is that the first step to larger scale industry is showing it can be done on a small scale.

There is a huge gap between being able to do something and not. The gap between a guy in his garage and a giant mill is nothing in comparison (although certainly still something.)

Those large machines you see in large scale industry don't come by magic. They are made up of parts that are assembled together by mechanics and technicians. Some of the martian colonists will come from people that have had years of this experience on earth. On mars, the machines will simply start out a little smaller with less production, [hand waving alert] but as the mars colony grows they will demonstrate advantages that those left on earth will envy. Trent has admonished me not to leave it at that, so I will not.

In many of the videos you may see some guy adding handfuls of dirt and chemicals to flower pots with the intention of producing some liquid metal. There are better ways. More industrial ways. But clay pots are pretty cheap and easy to make so one intermediate step is to make really big clay pots and shovel bags of dirt and chemicals in. Once you have enough metal you hand it off to a black smith or machinist who knows how to manufacture stuff from it. Including the machines to manufacture stuff from it. You've seen a blacksmith work... he heats it and hammers it. Although possibly useful after that, hand that rough item to a machinist and he will grind it and drill it and perform other machinist tricks to produce anything you can imagine. Which will include rollers so they can make sheet metal and extruders so that can make any shape of beam. They will need a lathe to make rollers. All that takes is an electric motor (ok, and other stuff but the motor is the most important.) A single extruder can make many shapes simply by changing a die. That die is a simple thing for the machinist to make. They will have to because thing wear and break and will have to be replaced (a universal truth, literally.)

Where do the bags of chemicals come from? From chemists and rock and dirt and air. You may think of chemists using test tubes which isn't an industrial process. But that's not reality. Where there is a need (basic economics) production can easily be scaled up. The only thing that could prevent that is if the raw materials were not available. On mars they are. Well, there is a power requirement, but where enough power is not available they can use less efficient methods that don't have the same power requirement. My blog posts are full of examples (The linked example uses a less efficient exothermic method and even the wrong ore. But it is an ore they don't have to look for, it's everywhere in the dirt. While it only produces a nugget, it's a nugget of titanium and the process is easily scaled as I've noted above.) Iron on mars is going to be cheap, cheap, cheap (pardon the fowl language.)

Everything complicated is made from simple stuff. The martian frontier will guarantee they do. [This is summarizing, not hand waving.]

Update: I just realized there is something missing that I must add. Everything needs to first be designed. Mars will need designers which provides incentive for people with such skills to be among the martian colonists. Many things are simple designs that require lesser skill designers (almost anyone.) Many designs are public domain. Some things are so common among certain trades that they don't realize they are designing in the process of making them.

Then there is earth. The cheapest thing to send to mars will be data which, once a colony is on mars, people on earth will compete to do for free. It will be a whole new subculture. O.S.E. is an example. Blogs are another. University students will get class credit.

Update: One of the things about industry is it's efficiency which happens as a result of simple economic laws. This reveals another type of invisible can't do attitude. It's the attitude that less efficient methods can't be done which is of course ridiculous. In the process of scaling up you may have to choose less efficient methods to get there.

[Waving hands furiously and fanatically] They can do.

I asked, part four

Can't we figure it out?

Of course we can. We do. The point is that martians will.

Meditate on it. It's deep.

Part One.

Titanium on mars

I just noticed that titanium dioxide is about 1% of martian soil. That's not the ore that pure titanium is usually processed from but here's the thing on mars...
[On earth] at temperatures high enough to melt it, titanium exposed to air catches fire.
So, is there enough oxygen in the martian air to cause it to catch fire? If not, titanium might be very common, low cost, and of course, useful on mars.

I don't know the answer. But white paint should be easy.

Titanium nitride should also be cheap to make and useful.

While martian banks may only take pure metal for deposit; A martian chemical warehouse may contain all sorts of oxides and other chemicals and will barter for many.

I'm thinking chemistry will be a high priority in the education of children raised on mars.

Friday, February 15, 2013

I asked, part three

Trents says,
I'm also more than a little concerned with Ken's acceptance that colonizing Mars will cost billions. I don't doubt that it will - actually, I expect his estimates are low. The concern comes from the fatalistic implication that there's nothing we can do to get it started.
While my reference mission says 48 for 4.8b, it also shows how it could be done for as one time cost of just $300m if you read through it. (Trent, please be kind on my hand waiving regarding fuel costs.)

However, Trent is right about not being fatalistic and doing things that can be done rather than sitting on thumbs waiting for some billionaire to decide to get things started. What he may not realize is that I am doing just that by sucking him and others into my insanity.

It may be that I've done what I can on the level of the settlement charter and reference mission. It may be I need to actually make some mars analog dirt and start making things. I wonder if you can buy mars analog dirt or do you have to make it?

Update: Let's see. I googled the first item on the list and found Na2O can be purchased for $240 per metric ton with a minimum of 20 mt. This may take a while. Is a spectral analog good enough?

Part One, Part Two.

I asked, part two

lack of depth
That hurt, it's true, but it still hurt. But I take it as a challenge to do better.

I certainly do a bit of "hand waving" as well. I can't apologize for all of it, since at some point you have to stop when there's still more to say. There's always more to say. Yet, you don't want to leave the impression there isn't. So ya do.

Trent sums up with just show them, in other words actions speak louder. I agree; however, actions often take resources that I don't have. I can think about doing a great many things that I just can't actually do. Geeks in front of the computer screen may well describe many people, including poor old me. But aren't we free [geek] people? Yes, absolutely. I'm working on it.

I do think Trent had a swing and a miss describing the Open Source Ecology; while incomplete (with placeholders) they actually are showing rather than just telling. A couple of students that are not part of their farm have even built a tractor from their designs. Much of what O.S.E. is doing can readily be adapted to a martian industrial ecology. I think it's essential. It is also a lot of work.

Providing more depth is good advice which I will try to apply. However, I am just one person and not so arrogant to think I have all the answers. I could use help from readers that understand how important a task this is and support the idea of reasonable claims by possession of free peoples.

The easy part is getting to mars. That's just money. The hard part is figuring out how to deal with all the issues regarding living on mars. Not just survival but the social compact as well which should include individual ownership as a given.

Forgive me for hand waving, but I do think some are smart enough to do that...

The right mental model shared by the martians will allow them to thrive. Now that's deep hand waving!

Part One, Part Three.

I asked for it

I love watching the Babe Ruth's on the internet swing their cluebats and Trent is one of the best. As a true friend, this time he's swinging at me. Update: the big time.

He brings up many subjects, providing me an opportunity to respond to just this one post with a number of my own. Which I will do over the next few days.

What I like best about Trent's writing is that it often includes nuggets of genius and this post is no exception with: doesn't fit into anyone's mental model of How People Live.

Which is why this blog exists. I've had a number of blogs before this, but I started this one after my own mental model was adjusted to realize mars colonization isn't something for the future:
  • It's doable now...
    •  Using technology already completed or soon to be.
    • The cost is high but the real return is much higher (Profits for everybody! from top to bottom.)
    • The colonists can go for free and arrive rich with few limits.
  • Human's are in desperate need of this mental model adjustment...
    • Because many, including the brightest, have a can't do attitude.
    • People think things come from stores.
    • Martians will have to adjust their mental attitude to survive, providing an example for the rest of humanity.
  • Human's need liberty and ownership to thrive where ever they are.
    • Every other colonization plan I've seen makes the crew slaves of some sort depending on earth to keep them alive. That's suicide.
    • It doesn't have to be. It shouldn't be. It requires a new mental model.
There are many issues to be resolved, but none of them are showstoppers. Not being prepared could kill people, but they can be prepared. We need can do.

Part Two, Part ThreePart Four, Part Five, Part Six.

14 minutes

Today, after about a decade orbiting the sun, DA14 will miss hitting the earth (dead center?) by about a quarter of an hour. Will this wake people up?

It's coming back in 2020.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What is a West Bank settlement?

Getting behind the news blackout.

Embarrassment and Disgrace

It's not Obama. It's our country as long as we allow this to go on.

The disgrace is out media doesn't report it with one loud voice.

This seems related.

His base is too stupid to know they're being screwed.

Clear verses clever

It's easy to be clever when somebody is feeding you the talking points.

Clear thinking takes meditation. Something easily made to look dumb.

Ask Katy and Sarah.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Timing is everything

It's worth noting she was right before she was then proven right. The fact that she is consistently right time after time is simply a statistical fluke which the left is safe to continue to ignore. Meanwhile, she's reloading.

Somebody left their tricorder on mars

Or is it a bug eyed monster?
What is suggests is mars has a lot of metals that on earth we have picked at for thousands of years. Mars could be a miners paradise with lots of low hanging fruit.

Dog chasing $45 billion tail

This will not end well.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mars reference mission (one way colonization)

I've got posts throughout this blog with numbers which I am now going to collect here (and revise as needed) as a reference mission for sending 48 colonists one way to mars. This presumes a precursor mission (not included here) of about a dozen to show they can live on mars and make preparation for new arrivals. Update: Why 48? Because we're not going for science. We're going to develop a whole new world which is worth more than the piddling amounts being thrown about. Yes, 10 billion is a piddling amount for an entire world. Our lack of vision may come back to haunt us. Why 48? Because that is about the minimum to get industry started. You need more for genetic diversity, but that is taken care of with seeds (the perfect space travelers.) We just need to get the eggs and incubators there first.** While I applaud the Mars One plan they could send 12 times as many for the same money.

Conclusion: $4.8 billion mission cost, $100 million per colonist.
Note: 42% of mission is getting fuel to orbit.
See timeline below where mission cost goes from billions to zero!

  • 25 Falcon Heavy, 50 mt to orbit for $100 m. each.
    • EML1 cost requires further analysis.
    • 2 FH launches to orbit G.P.S.
    • 20 FH launches to fuel two G.P.S. (This also happens to create a huge market for lunar oxygen lowering mission cost.)
    • 3 FH launches for crew via stretch dragons (to ships waiting at EML1?)
  • Each colonists requires 2.5 mt. (Themselves, space suit and provisions.)
    • 1.5 mt. of consumables for voyage from earth to mars orbit (includes packaging.)
    • 1 mt. to mars surface (per terms of settlement charter.)
  • 3 Stretch Dragon, to orbit $128 m. each (possibly lower with reuse.)
    • Non essential, existing Dragons simply cost a bit more.
    • 16 passengers to orbit (40 mt. payload, 2.5 mt per passenger.)
      • First will deliver 8 crew to each ship.
      • 2nd and 3rd will deliver all 16 to each separate ship.
    • Cost per passenger: $8 m. (1st step to mars.)
  • 2 General Purpose Ship (G.P.S.) 40 mt to orbit $300 m. each
    • Let's call these Merlin BA700 class ships.
      • 1/3 the size and mass of a BA2100 (to fit on FH.)
      • Bigelow has demonstrated that size is adjustable.
      • Designed for best use of FH payload capability.
    • Gas and go. Does not land anywhere ever. Just for going from orbit to orbit.
    • Life support for 24 (Supplemented by passenger consumables.)
    • 700 m3 interior space (12 m3: 2x2x3, per private cabin space, 412 m3 of common space separated into multiple rooms.)
    • Uses Merlin Vacuum from upper stage of FH, includes ion drive for empty return to earth. Fuel storage (kerosene, lox) is a technical detail left to really smart readers. (hint: structure is included in 40 mt. but requires some orbital assembly.)
    • Solar panels provide power and shielding for fuel.
    • Departure dry mass 100 mt. (24 passengers * 2.5 mt. each = 60 mt. plus ship mass.)
    • Cost per passenger (before fuel): $12.5 m. (2nd step to mars.)
  • 12 Dragon 2 Lander, to mars orbit for $150 m. each.
    •  4 mt. payload from mars orbit to surface (four colonist w/ provisions.)
    • Cost per passenger: $37.5 m. (3rd step to mars.)
    • We may send more for redundancy in orbit and to preposition supplies on the surface of mars which is not included in these assumptions but easily added at $150 m. per.
Update: I've heard the Red Dragon would land from 1 mt to 10 mt on mars, so 4 mt seemed reasonable. However, the Mars One Dragon would deliver only 2.5 mt. So assuming that mass instead of 4 mt, we could still land 4 colonists per lander, but they would only take a bit more than half their provisions with them with the rest being delivered on a separate lander. This would require ten more landers for $1.5b. which could go first and be waiting for them on arrival. /update.

So that gives us $58 m. per colonist before considering departure fuel. How much fuel does the G.P.S. require? What delta V will be required makes a huge difference. For now let's say 1000 mt. of fuel (500 mt. per G.P.S. for two ships) which would be 20 FH launches for $2b which is $42 b. per colonist giving us a total cost of $100 m. per colonist to the surface of mars with space suit and provisions. So the total cost of this reference mission is $4.8 billion. A precursor mission might be done by others and may cost more but should cost less considering they could send just one BA330 class ship with 6 crew using the above assumptions.

The settlement charter provides (per colonist) 1000 sq. km. to cover that $100 m. for a break even of $200 per undeveloped half acre plot. Colonists should make about $2000 profit (probably more) on developed half acre plots. As colonists develop plots, the undeveloped plots near those should go up in value. More colonists arriving constitutes a boom town.

Update: Instead of sending 12 landers ahead to mars orbit they may ride with the ship in a structure that also holds fuel. The cost should be about the same either way. Or they could do a combination for higher cost having 12 landers waiting in mars orbit and four landers going with each ship in which case six crew would land with fewer provisions on each Dragon. Prepositioned (abundant) supplies on the surface are highly recommended.


How long will it take? That depends on funds and launches available each year. Let's say we have $300 m. per year. Assuming 5% return, $6 b. (the Mars One target) would do it without ever having to touch the principle. If we have income beyond $300 m. per year, we can just work to accumulate the $6 b. without having to come up with it up front. Now I will show how the mission can cost nothing (not billions, but zero) and even make a profit. I said it could, not that it would, but we can certainly mitigate the cost.

Year Zero: We launch 1 G.P.Ship to LEO. This becomes a tourist destination that can provide a profitable source of income. Tourists may come and go in overlapping flights of seven on F9/Dragon. Assuming $5 m. in profit for each tourist, 60 tourists per year (never more than 24 at a time) completely funds this colony project. Every tourist drops our mission cost from billions toward zero and could even turn a profit. At this point we've only spent just $300 m. Once on board, tourists can extend their time for a minimal cost (compared to $20m) for weeks or even months. This will be coordinated so that all returning Dragons are full. Update: Do I believe 60 tourists a year would pay $20m for several weeks in orbit. No, since there have only been about 20 ever (and one or two would be non paying crew.) However, it is a cost mitigation. It also suggests that some, wanting to move to the head of the line would be willing to buy land from the transportation company on migration.

Only Elon know's how much money he's making at $20 m. per person. With high flight rates he can probably be negotiated to $15m per seat. We begin adding structure for fuel tankage and four additional docks for Dragon2 to the ship. We are going to mars.

Update: Bigelow seems to disagree with me; offering 60 day stays for $26.25m.

He's targeting nations rather than individual tourists: “Nations such as Japan, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden could secure the future of their human spaceflight programs and dramatically increase the size of their astronaut corps,” the company’s website states. “Smaller countries with no human spaceflight experience such as Singapore or the United Arab Emirates could take their first bold steps into space in a rapid and affordable fashion.

The Alpha station will have 6 x 110 m3 sections that will rent for $51.25m each for up to 6 times a year meaning a potential $1.845b annually. Only 16% of that is required to fully fund this reference mission giving us not a hotel in orbit but an entire new planet (with resources in walking distance but they'll use trucks.) The BA330 has life support for six providing 55 m3 per person. Alpha station will have two BA330s.

Year One: We launch 2 Dragon2 for mars orbit. The main purpose being to show that we can safely land these on mars. The first will land on the equator. The second will attempt to land about 10 km. from the first. This will put the first 8 mt. of provisions on the martian surface waiting for colonists. Update: 5 mt with the new Mars One assumptions.

Year Two: The second G.P.S. and tourist destination goes to LEO. We will only work on structure and tankage after the first one is complete. Both ships should have several shakedown cruises around the moon over the next few years (starting around year four.) Tourists or others would pay a bit more for this ride of course (because of fuel costs.)

Year Three: 2 more Dragon2 with supplies to land to start forming a circle within 10 km. of the central Dragon2 on equator. This gives us experience and knowledge of precision Dragon2 landings before we take passengers. It also provides emergency backup supplies and shelter to others that may put people within range.

Year Four: Tankage is complete on first ship. 3 FH fuel launches this year. We create a market in LEO for kerosene and lox by offering $2 million per metric ton to any other providers.

Year Five: First 2 Dragon2 landers sent to mars orbit waiting for the arrival of colonists to land.

Aprox. Year Ten: We have six landers in mars orbit and a fully fueled G.P.S. waiting to go. We have four to seven supply Dragons waiting on the surface of mars. We could send the first 24 colonists now, or wait for the second ship to be ready to go along.

In any case, we are a two planet species within 20 years.

Note: The stretch Dragon is the only thing not on the drawing boards (only Elon knows) and is not essential. This mission easily flies without them using the current Dragon (presumed upgraded for crew.) OK, neither is a BA700, but that's a logical and trivial change coming between the existing designs of the BA330 and BA2100. The BA330 is part of Bigelow's cislunar concept while the BA2100 isn't. The BA700 is specifically for sending 24 passengers BEO.

Did I say the transportation company has to make $200 per undeveloped half acre to break even? As the mission cost goes to zero, so does the break even cost. In which case, every plot sold at any price is pure profit. Now that's a case for mars! (to borrow a phrase.)

Also, developed plots are a separate market so this doesn't hurt the colonists income potential either. Each colonist will have a land claim worth more than a million dollars over their lifetime from almost the moment they arrive (boot print and witness required per terms of settlement charter.) They will be free people (unless they choose enslave themselves with ill advised public entanglements not required on a young world.) The sale of a single developed property provides funds to develop the next with improvements that come from experience.

Update: Just for comparison, Zubrin's 2 person direct mission would cost about $3.6b for 48 (going in pairs w/o ERV) and would be scalable up or down. I'd rather have a couple of dozen people to socialize with and my own private personal space for privacy when I want for a trip of over 6 months (plus I provide 1.5 mt of supplies for the voyage per person and another mt. when they land vs. his 2.5 mt for two people for three years.)

**Yes, mars will need moms (again, not slaves, unless they are foolish enough to make themselves such.)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chain of Title

Ok, so you're a new colonist on mars. You had a home waiting for you in the center of town on arrival that you bought before leaving earth. You paid $100,000 because that's the going price for such a place. It has two underground stories, a garage for about four vehicle, many large rooms, a 50m hobby farm on top (providing a shirt sleeve garden) and all utilities which provides life support for 3 to 4 long term and dozens on short term (for hosting parties of course) sitting on a half acre plot. You're happy with the place and the community. You need furniture, but that will happen in time. You don't have any vehicles either, everything available has already been snapped up. But you can buy all the parts of a tractor for $8,000 and a friend has already offered to help put it together which will only take about a day or two. He's done it many times before.

But all the good property is in town and your one sq. km. claim is about ten km. away in an undeveloped neighborhood. Time for some horse trading.

You go to the land registry office and find many others there as well. You could have stayed at home and conducted business on your networked computer but you like the personal touch when trading. There are big maps on the walls and you find some property you're interested in. As everyone knows value of property is mostly location, location, location. So you post an offer of 40 acres of your property for 20 acres in town. After shooting the breeze and several cups of coffee most of the morning you've gotten no nibbles, so you adjust the offer to 40 for 10, then finally 30 for 5 which finds you a person willing to trade.

You both have to wait in line to register the transfer but soon another link in a chain of title is on the record and you now have land with a better potential for earlier development. Did you make a good deal? You may not know for years. However, you notice somebody eyeing the map around your old property. She must have a claim that's even farther out. Time for some more horse trading.

Tomorrow you'd better get that tractor built... you've got land to develop.