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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the Applied-SiddhÄnta dept.

Popeidol writes:

"In November, India took the next step in their space program by launching their Mangalyaan Mars orbiter. The orbiter won't arrive for a while yet, but they've managed to get some public attention for a different reason: the fact that the entire mission costs only 75 million dollars, substantially less than the budget for the hit movie 'Gravity.'

While the question of wages is bound to come up (it was only 15% of the budget of the project), I think we can all agree that bringing down the cost of interplanetary space travel to a level attainable by the ultra-rich is a good step forward."

 
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  • (Score: 1) by buswolley on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:40PM

    by buswolley (848) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:40PM (#1738)

    "... I think we can all agree that bringing down the cost of interplanetary space travel to a level attainable by the ultra-rich is a good step forward."

    Is this editorial sarcasm? Or did the poster mean attainable by those other than the ultra-rich.

    --
    subicular junctures
  • (Score: 4, Funny) by JeanCroix on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:43PM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:43PM (#1746)
    I took it to mean the poster hopes the ultra-rich will all leave the planet.
    • (Score: 1) by buswolley on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:49PM

      by buswolley (848) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:49PM (#1756)

      I often entertain the idea that we live in a simulation, and that in the *real* world we are playing a videogame and forgot about our real lives while in our incubators, or our brains completely virtualized.

      Then I think about this world, and how we might soon face these possibilities to 'sink further into the matrix.'
      Then I get a happy thought when I realize that the people whom might first get lost would be the ultra rich.

      --
      subicular junctures
    • (Score: 1) by hubie on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:10PM

      by hubie (1068) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:10PM (#1768) Journal

      Will they be on the first or second rocket? [wikia.com]

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:45PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 18 2014, @05:45PM (#1749)

    With dual two hundred watt class traveling wave tubes, I'd like to see it brought down to a level attainable by amsat.org. I'd be happy with just a geosync boost much less interplanetary. Rumor has it AO-40's little taxi ride was about five million bucks (admittedly awhile ago) so we're only about an order of magnitude away from the first ham radio satellite orbiting Mars...

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by linsane on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:18PM

    by linsane (633) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:18PM (#1773)

    Re-read a couple of times to see if it should have read Billion... To put it into perspective, that budget would get you less than 0.5 km of the 140km proposed London to Birmingham (UK) High Speed Rail link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_2 [wikipedia.org]

    If I was a mega millionaire and they were both Kickstarter projects I know which one I would support

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by mattie_p on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:25PM

    by mattie_p (13) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:25PM (#1775) Journal

    As one of the editors of this piece, I took it to mean that the ultra-rich could sponsor their own private space ventures. But I could be wrong, and didn't want to change the thought of the author too much from the original.

    • (Score: 1) by Quicksilver on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:23PM

      by Quicksilver (1821) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:23PM (#2420)

      I guess the point is that you can get price down "to a level attainable by the ultra-rich" if part of your strategy is to get woefully underpaid third world labor to do the brunt of the work for you...

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by istartedi on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:28PM

    by istartedi (123) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:28PM (#1779) Journal

    I don't think it's sarcasm. I've heard this comparison before in discussions of
    spaceflight cost. Most spaceflight requires a government for funding. Even though
    $75 million is a figure limited to the ultra-rich, it's a figure that some individuals
    can afford to spend. That makes it the first step down on the expense ladder.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mhajicek on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:49PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @06:49PM (#1793)

      I think it says something unfortunate about our society, that we put so much more in the way of resources into movies than into space exploration.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by chromas on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:59PM

        by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 18 2014, @10:59PM (#2003) Journal

        One thing it says is "no time for patience!" The ROI for a movie is relatively instantaneous.

      • (Score: 1) by Pslytely Psycho on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:59AM

        by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @12:59AM (#2056)

        "I think it says something unfortunate about our society, that we put so much more in the way of resources into movies than into space exploration."

        Yes, but really it could not be any other way. Comparing Mass media meant for consumption by millions to scientific endevours that only a few will fully utilize the results of (not refering to any new technologies that may come of such mission and result in consumer products) is kind of apples and oranges.

        But, I agree with the idea that modern society places so little value in pure science.

        --
        Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by mcgrew on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:57AM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:57AM (#2078) Homepage Journal

        I think it says something unfortunate about our society, that we put so much more in the way of resources into movies than into space exploration.

        But we don't. Compare the budgets of the world's space agencies to the budgets of film studios around the world.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 1) by Foobar Bazbot on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:15AM

          by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @07:15AM (#2198) Journal

          I think it says something unfortunate about our society, that we put so much more in the way of resources into movies than into space exploration.
          But we don't. Compare the budgets of the world's space agencies to the budgets of film studios around the world.

          Wait, what? Why don't you compare them? (or if you have, and came to a radically different conclusion than I did, please share...)

          NASA's budget [wikipedia.org] is about 18 billion.

          I know that movie studios do exist to make a profit, so the budgets (which you reference) should be lower than the revenue. However, I didn't find suitable information on budgets (AFAIK, such information is not generally publicized in any form, and I didn't find any estimates in a few minutes searching), so I looked at gross revenues.

          In 2012, the US box-office gross [the-numbers.com] for the biggest major film studio, Sony, was 1.8 billion; dividing by their market share for the total yields 10.8 billion. However, partway through 2012, Sony announced [deadline.com] that their worldwide gross was over 4 billion, 1.6 billion domestic and 2.4 billion overseas -- if the same trend applies for other studios (that overseas income is about twice domestic gross income), then the US movie industry takes in well over 20 billion, perhaps 30 billion in box-office revenue. That's not counting Bluray/DVD sales.

          It's very hard to see an argument in those numbers that, as you imply, the budgets of the world's space agencies exceed the budgets of the world's film studios. Certainly it doesn't seem likely to be true for the US, and there are many nations that have film industries (smaller than Hollywood, to be sure) but don't have any space agency at all.

          And, if you refer to what GP actually said, "that we put so much more in the way of resources into movies", I think gross income is the right measure. The dollars we spend on entertainment, whether they ultimately go to cover the expenses of making a movie, the expenses of running a theater, or to pad any number of pockets along the way, do represent real resources that we as a society have chosen to direct to entertainment rather than exploration.

          • (Score: 1) by mcgrew on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:04PM

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday February 19 2014, @05:04PM (#2611) Homepage Journal

            You're comparing one country's space program (US) with that country's film industry, when there are a lot of other spacefaring countries and a lot of countries that make films; India and China come to mind, both make a lot of movies and both have space programs. Then there's Russia, who afaik has no film industry but we need them to launch astronauts to the ISS. What's Russia's budget?

            --
            Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
            • (Score: 2, Informative) by Foobar Bazbot on Thursday February 20 2014, @06:06PM

              by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Thursday February 20 2014, @06:06PM (#3605) Journal

              You're comparing one country's space program (US) with that country's film industry, when there are a lot of other spacefaring countries and a lot of countries that make films;

              Yes -- I made the comparison for the country with by far the largest space budget. Check it out [wikipedia.org], NASA's budget is roughly equal to Roskosmos, ESA, JAXA, and the French and German agencies all combined, and as such represents nearly half of the global total.

              India and China come to mind, both make a lot of movies and both have space programs.

              Their space programs both have budgets of about 1.3 billion USD.

              I'm unsure of the dollar sizes of their movie industries (they do have a lot of output, but they have lower costs per film) -- again, falling back on revenues, wikipedia claims [wikipedia.org] the Indian film industry "reached overall revenues of $1.86 billion (Rs 93 billion) in 2011. This is projected to rise to $3 billion (Rs 150 billion) in 2016."
              And for China, wikipedia claims [wikipedia.org] 2.12 billion USD as the domestic gross box office revenues for Chinese films (69% share of 3.6 billion USD for all films, Chinese and foreign -- no, the math doesn't work out right, so maybe "market share" is being computed per-ticket rather than per-money).

              As for the US case, it's unclear how much of either figure is profit, but the revenues are not so low as to rule out movie budgets being greater than space budgets.

              Then there's Russia, who afaik has no film industry but we need them to launch astronauts to the ISS. What's Russia's budget?

              Russia does have a film industry, though I think it is much smaller (relative to space budget) than in other countries I've looked at. Anyway, Roskosmos's budget is 5.6 billion.

      • (Score: 1) by evilviper on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:05AM

        by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:05AM (#2225) Homepage Journal

        I think it says something unfortunate about our society, that we put so much more in the way of resources into movies than into space exploration.

        Movies make a profit... All that money comes back, and then some, in a few months. If I could fund some space mission for less than the cost of a house, I'd still go for the house.

        Velcro is nice and all, but these days we're not pushing through many major technological hurdles, so I'm not sure we'll get the kind of benefits we saw from Apollo. And if I hear one more NASA press release saying they've got found another tiny bit of evidence, giving them a grain more hope that there might have been life on Mars, I'm going to go out and blow up the deep-space network...

        --
        Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
        • (Score: 1) by mhajicek on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:19PM

          by mhajicek (51) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @01:19PM (#2416)

          One possible type of space mission with financial return in the foreseeable future is asteroid mining, hence the significant private investment there. Who wouldn't want a billion tons of Platinum?

          --
          The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 1) by panachocala on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:53AM

        by panachocala (464) on Wednesday February 19 2014, @08:53AM (#2258)

        *ahem* $2B for a B2 bomber and we have 40 of them *ahem*

        So yeah, we definitely need to slash the space budget.

  • (Score: 1) by cykros on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:08PM

    by cykros (989) on Tuesday February 18 2014, @09:08PM (#1918)

    Not sure, but given the extreme costs of publicly funded space programs in the past, being affordable by the super rich (independently) WOULD be an improvement. That we'd still of course want more improvements wouldn't negate that, just perhaps frame it a bit more accurately.