Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Can private companies make it to Mars first?

4Frontiers is a small company with its sights set much farther than most: 4Frontiers is aiming to put a human colony on Mars sometime during the 2020's. Yesterday, I gave a brief explanation why I believe "government should only lead the way in exploration and not dominate already covered ground." Today, I think I should clarify that belief a little more.

Government is good at exactly two things: crushing freedom and wasting mountains of money. While government certainly does other things, no sane person would ever try to claim that it does any of those other things well.

Colonizing the Moon and Mars is almost definitely going to require a huge investment before it becomes profitable. The required investment is so large, it is unlikely any company will be able to afford it unless they develop a business plan so profitable that the banks and venture capitalists start throwing money at them--pretty unlikely but not impossible.

Because I want to see space colonization sooner rather than later and since the US Government manages to waste nearly 2 trillion dollars a year, I'd like to see some of that money spent on colonization. Basically, given the choice between government funded manned space exploration and no manned exploration, I choose the government funding.

However, if by some miracle, 4Frontiers or someone else really beats NASA to Mars, I'm going to be at the front of the line demanding NASA discontinue all of their manned exploration programs. Although their odds are slim, I really hope 4Frontiers succeeds.


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