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.
Produced by Wendover Productions, the narrator runs through an itemized 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: $36 billion, or $98 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.