What Would Happen If NASA Got All The Money Spent On Wars…This Man Has The Answer
As you may well know, NASA stopped going to space around three years ago. While many private individuals have sought to pick up the slack, and to the suspicion of many Americans, so have several other countries, without USA being active in space exploration, it just wouldn’t be the same.
What if we tried something else, though? Neil DeGrasse Tyson often made comparisons to NASA’s and the US Army’s budget. What if the money spent on building weapons, paying weapons manufacturers, and commissioning new tech in that field went to NASA instead? There’s been an estimated 11 trillion dollars spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a fraction of those trillion dollars could fund multiple space programs, and even more scientific endeavors.
So, what if, indeed? Redditor peterabbit456 discusses the possibilities with you below.
Space elevator(s) on the Moon. Using any of the 6 or so strongest artificial fibers, Lunar space elevators from the surface to EML1, which I favor, or to EML2, which NASA favors, could easily be built. If part of the cable is in the form of hollow, sealed tubes, then it can be used as a gas pipeline, to ship methane and oxygen up or down. Shipping Nitrogen bearing gasses down the pipe might be needed for a Lunar colony.
Lunar power generation: Start near the poles, where you want to be to mine Lunar ice. Ring the rim of Shackleton crater (at the South pole) with a band of Solar cells. 1/2 of them will be in sunlight at all times. This provides continuous power for the base, the gas plant, and the solar cell factory. As time goes on, build rings of solar cells and power lines farther North, until you are generating more power than a dozen nuclear power plants. Build steel and aluminum mills. Steel you get from meteoric iron. Aluminum you get from the rocks, with Oxygen as a desirable biproduct.
Asteroid redirect and mining: The Moon is a ready source of steel, Aluminum, silicon for solar cells, and oxygen for rockets and breathing, but there is only a little hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen. These are needed for life, and 2 of them for rocket fuel. There are plenty of asteroids that are rich in H, C, and N, as well as other nice things like platinum and gold. There are 2 approaches you could take to mining asteroids.
Asteroid redirect to make Aldrin cyclers: Using ion drives and solar cells, asteroids would be nudged into orbits that periodically cross near the Earth and Mars, Jupiter and Earth, or Saturn and Earth. They could be hollowed out, and turned into luxury liners to carry people to and from the planets. Shielding could be heavy enough so that riding one of these would give no more radiation than staying home on Earth. Like cruise ships, these could become profitable enterprises that are occupied full time by service staff. (Only the first 2, between Earth and Mars, would be done for a trillion dollars. After that, more would be built from the profits.
Phobos base: 2 of the easiest to reach asteroids for mining, are the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. We would not want to move them from their present locations, because they are are uniquely well suited to support the colonization of Mars. Phobos is in a lower orbit, and appears to contain much water ice, carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen, in substances typical of carbonaceous chondrite asteroids. Solar cells, a gas/fuel plant, and a tank farm there, as well as underground living quarters, would make travel to and from Mars much easier and safer.
Mars base: If you spend the time and effort to have robots prepare a Mars base and refueling station, the larger rockets that people require would be able to land on the surface, under power, with dry tanks. They could then refuel and take off, using the same engines used for landing, and arrive at Phobos base with dry tanks. At Phobos, they would refuel for the trip home. The trips to Mars and back could be done in the spacecraft, but a better system would be to make use of the Aldrin cyclers mentioned above. Then, a craft similar to an Apollo capsule would take you from the planet to the cycler, where you would travel for most of the journey in shielded luxury. You would re-board your capsule for the transition from cycler to orbit, when going to Mars, or from cycler to splashdown, when returning to Earth.