someone_else wrote:Lol?This is a tricky question because the mass on offer is too large for modest scientific goals, like probing the solar system, but too small for something really dramatic.
An unmanned probe to fucking alpha centauri in 100 years? You have any fucking idea of how absurd is that?
The main reason is that you have to develop an engine that does not suck balls first.
I said it presents interesting challenges. Which is engineering speak for quite fucking absurd, but not known to be impossible either. 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.
That's plain idiotic. 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.Permanent moon base - Ideally as self-sufficient as possible. The main interest would be how to survive for extended periods in such a wilderness, which strictly could be done in a NASA car park, but it would also have good element of exciting historic achivement.
Still a total murderous ripoff, but for a much better reason.
Not really. At least my idea is cool; yours will just lose money for no gloire.
I'd say keep funnelling money to SpaceX and hope they deliver, and then focus on fixing and maintaining orbital satellites for a while (they cost billions and there are loads of them that could use some help for the right price), again having Uncle Sam swallow the start-up and development costs (minusucule if compared to the STS, but who cares).
Then proceed with the moon as above with the money from orbital mainteneance services.
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?".