Google+ Mars Travel: Funding Space Missions and Projects Without NASA

Funding Space Missions and Projects Without NASA

These days NASA is on the congressional chopping block. Their budget was cut from $18.7 billion in 2010 to around $17.9 billion in 2011. Despite this, NASA has pledged to continue funding its most expensive flagship programs, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and Space Launch System (SLS) with Orion Capsule, despite the JWST costing a third more than originally expected. The original price tag on the telescope was $6.5 billion, but that has since been revised to $8.7 billion. The senate has said JWST will get $530 million in 2012, which is around 3% of the annual budget.  This is just for the JWST; the SLS will cost around $3 billion annually, which is 16.8% of the budget. These programs are immensely important for the advancement of science and discovery, but they will take up almost a fifth of NASA's overall budget annually. If NASA's funding is cut it will create uncertainty for the future of projects that were counting on NASA to fund them, but which may be deemed not important enough to continue.

If NASA funding smaller projects is such a liability, why don't those projects go elsewhere?

The simple answer: there is no real precedence. Who else has the money to fund space projects that cost millions, if not billions of dollars? If NASA decides  it cannot afford to fund a sample-return mission from Mars,  is there any other way for that important project to get funding? What about other important space missions and projects? If there was a viable alternative means of funding for space projects, wouldn't it have emerged already?

There are two answers, but they might take some time to digest:

1) People like you can help fund these multi-million dollar space projects! Small donations can make a big difference when added up! What if there was a company that collected contributions and used them to sponsor space projects and missions? Would you contribute? (Answer in the poll above and leave specific questions in the comments)

For more information about contributing to space projects please see the How to Contribute page.

2) Corporations are always seeking publicity. Sponsoring a space mission or project provides the perfect method to secure that publicity because a company could ask for their logo to be placed on the spacecraft or that the mission be named after them. For more information about how this would work, please see the About Mars Travel page.

It astonishes me that no one has done these things before. The lack of precedence is intimidating, but someone needs to earnestly begin finding an alternative method of funding for private space missions and projects. That is where Mars Travel comes in.

There is still a long way to go, both for the company and the private space industry, but it's high time that we change the status quo.

More Information on Mars Travel

Please ask questions or provide feedback by emailing David.J.Geaney [at]


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