Lawrence Krauss (physicist and author of the Physics of Star Trek) wrote in New Scientist that Newt Gingrich’s proposal to put a permanent base on the moon will have to cost about $1 trillion because the International Space station cost $150 billion and the Space Shuttle program cost over $200 billion.
Apparently once the government has paid for one over priced project then all future projects have to be planned on the same over pricing. There can be no corrections of the system to use different vendors or plans to achieve lower costs.
All future tunnel projects will have to be priced at the cost of the Big Dig which is $6 billion per mile of tunnel. (Boston highway tunnel project that cost $22 billion for 3.5 miles of tunnel. There were another plan (the Boston Bypass), which was ten miles of elevated highway. Elevated highway in Los Angeles in 1996 cost $20 million per mile.).
All hammers have to be purchased at $436 per hammer and all coffee makers must cost $7600.
We must forever have government projects at maximum inefficiency. Any attempt to do anything with lower costs must be ridiculed. Any attempt to make plans that do something different from what led to past cost overruns must be ridiculed.
All mistakes must be repeated.
All planning must be timid and scoped to be within the limited capabilities of what was done by past over priced government projects. If I bought a Ford Pinto, I cannot buy a new car next time. I have to plan on car trips with the assumption that I must always own a lemon.
Quoting Homer Simpson (and apparently Lawrence Krauss)
“You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.”
Simple Cheaper Choices than the Space Shuttle
I am not recommendong Apollo now. Today I recommend Spacex and prize competition and my nuclear plans. The section below is just to point out the the Space shuttle ended up being six to ten times more expensive than Apollo.
Space shuttle – With 134 missions, and the total cost of US$192 billion (in 2010 dollars), this gives approximately $1.5 billion per launch over the life of the program.
In 1969, the cost of a Saturn V including launch was US $ 185 million (inflation adjusted US$ 1.11 billion in 2012)
So the space shuttle ending up costing more than the Saturn V while launching 10 times less.
In 1972, the cost of a Saturn IB including launch was $55 million USD (inflation adjusted US$ 288.7 million in 2012). Six times cheaper than the Space Shuttle.
The promised reusability and high launch rate of the space shuttle or increased safety were clearly wrong by 1986 and the program should have been cancelled at that point.