Value Created by First Martian Explorer

by | Apr 3, 2004

In my article “Mars: Who Should Own It,” I stated: Whoever implements the concept of getting to Mars and living there turns a virtually worthless ball of rock into something of substantial value. Let’s check my premises. First: Will Mars, after a successful mission, have substantial value? My answer is: If Mars is not valued, […]

In my article “Mars: Who Should Own It,” I stated: Whoever implements the concept of getting to Mars and living there turns a virtually worthless ball of rock into something of substantial value. Let’s check my premises.

First: Will Mars, after a successful mission, have substantial value? My answer is: If Mars is not valued, contingent on a successful mission, at at least the cost of a mission, then no one would even pursue a mission. And if it is not also valued highly by some second, competing venture, then there would be no one to lose out to the eventual winner. After the mission, Mars might decline again in value, if the owners mismanage, but Mars has to have been valued highly by someone in order for a mission even to have been completed, and it has to have been valued highly by some second person or company in order for someone to have lost the competition. In the case at hand, “valued highly” means on the order of much more than $30 billion. The $30 billion, whether spent by investors and/or by spectators who watch the spectacle on television, can be viewed as an investment in the development of the property.

And further, it is not primarily the value of some one part of Mars that is created by a successful mission, but rather the value of the planet as a whole — by the demonstration of a way to get there and back under conditions of the planet’s great distance and substantial gravity (compared to the moon’s) — by the demonstration of a way for men to live there under its conditions of atmosphere, temperature, gravity, and chemical makeup — by the creation of market awareness of Martian real estate. Indeed, it is probably not until after men land on Mars and have a chance to do more detailed exploration that specific pieces of Martian land will gain especially high value.

Let’s look at the other premise: Is Mars today, before a successful mission, virtually worthless? My answer is: in comparison to much more than $30 billion, yes. Even if someone today were willing to pay a billion dollars for Mars, the lion’s share of the value of Mars after a successful mission will have been created by the authors of the successful mission.

Now, the only possible objection I can see to awarding ownership of Mars to the first successful mission is if the whole of Mars is already, today, worth more than the cost of a mission. For my solution for that possibility, please see my article, Mars: Who Should Own It.

Ron Pisaturo is a writer and philosopher. He has written a screenplay, The Merchant of Mars. Ronald Pisaturo is the author of A Validation of Knowledge, The Longevity Argument, The Merchant of Mars, and Masculine Power, Feminine Beauty.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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