This week Elon Musk announced plans to plans to build a “self-sustaining city” on Mars. It’s a thrilling notion, although folks were quick to point out not just the technical challenges of accomplishing such a feat, but also the tremendous cost. Even living on the Moon for a year would be pretty pricey, as a new video makes clear.
Still form Duncan Jones’ 2009 film Moon.
Produced by Wendover Productions, the narrator runs through an itemised list of everything you’d need to send just four astronauts to the Moon for the year: Notably, transportation there and back, lunar landers, housing, greenhouses to grow food (let’s hope those astronauts love sweet potatoes), water and power. The grand total: $US36 billion ($46.7 billion), or $US98 million ($127 million) per day.
Granted, that’s assuming old Saturn V rockets. If Space X and other commercial rocket companies keep making progress in developing reusable rockets (rather than blowing them up), that could bring the cost down substantially some day.