HMS Conqueror wrote:
Even a nuclear powered spaceship may indeed not be buildable to that spec on 50,000t, but it isn't totally beyond the realm of possibility either.
We aren't talking "common" nuclear power here (fission), you need fusion engines for the very least (albeit i'm still much more positive about relativistic sailbots and a magnetic pusher plate) and a way to ensure your highly advanced and complex shit does not fuck up horribly for 100 years of continued operation.
Ok, you may manage to make it mass less than 50 ktons but hell, I don't understand the point of your speculation if you can pull out that awesomeness from the hat.
With the same money you could fill the whole fucking moon with platoons of prospecting bots, and if lucky enough, start a relatively profitable teleoperated mining operation by having Uncle Sam paying for start-up costs.
Not really. At least my idea is cool; yours will just lose money for no gloire.
Bullshit. Your idea will crash and burn the second the will for it ceases, and become "something cool that we cannot sadly do anymore" for the future generations. Like any space program did in the past. If you said "I wanna make a Moon Hotel for the Wealthy", it would have looked much better.
If it does make some kind of money it will keep going on regardless of your will, and eventually lead to cost reductions for everything else. Which means, I want to make sure someone will eventually build a truly permanent moon base in the future (mainly a turist hotel, probably), not will stuff into existence that will disappear/wither-and-die whenever i leave the chair.
HMS Conqueror wrote:
Ignoring the question, which was not "What is the most efficient way to run the space program?" but "What would you do with 50,000t to orbit?".
That's my answer. I want to use that mass budget to jump-start a true self-sustaining space colonization effort that will then keep rolling well after I left the chair, not to make Neverland-in-Space or blow moon-sized amounts of money to Alpha Centauri.
Government investment allowed contractors to gain experience and eventually roll out inertial systems into the commercial market.
The only thing that I'd point out is that any kind of government-backed R&D tends to have this effect, apart for some military stuff that gets classified.
I mean, as long as it's Ol'Sam paying for stuff, does not matter what is being done exactly, but advances will be made.
Anyways, back on topic, how much factory equipment could we heft up there to start assembling an Island 3?
Probably enough to make the space tugs/landers/infrastructure plus moon fueling facilities, moon mines and regolith smelters to build the hull of the beast in a couple decades, but not anywhere near enough to actually fill it with the cool things you see in pictures.