Click me

The Cost of Space Travel

The Cost of SPACE TRAVEL Charting the Distance and Cost of Space Exploration The human race has accomplished incredible things in our quest to explore our universe. We've been to the moon and sent machines to Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Mars, and more. Even getting out into space and escaping Earth's atmosphere is a tremendous accomplishment that our ancestors only dreamed of! Naysayers sometimes say, "Yes, well, it's all very expensive...," but when you compare the cost of space travel to the cost of more terrestrial things like weddings, cars, and buildings, you'll see that our money is well spent in the race to space. Ulysses In a slingshot mission around Jupiter, studying the sun from all angles, Ulysses traveled more than 5.3 billion miles (8.6 billion kilometers) Ulysses NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) Ulysses was launched in 1990 to study the sun. It made three scans of the sun in 1994, 2000, and 2007. Along the way, it studied comets and performed a slingshot maneuver around Jupiter. It ended its life in 2008, lasting four times longer than predicted. Messenger National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 4.9 billion miles |(7.8 billion kilometers) in gravity-assisted hops from Earth to Venus and finally to Mercury. $133 billion The MESSENGER spacecraft orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015, studying the geology, magnetic field, and chemical composition of the planet. It performed two flybys of Venus and three of Mercury. It was the first and most comprehensive look at Mercury in history and found ice at Mercury's poles. $446 million Ulysses had a difficult journey on the way to Jupiter, but at least it wasn't an expensive one. It cost more than seven times less than the U.S. effort to complete the Panama Canal in 1914. A little more than enough to put a whole class of 6,700 students through a single year of undergraduate education at TARVALD Harvard College ($60,659 per student, without any form of aid), MERCURY Casa Rosetta European Space Agency (ESA) 3.8 billion miles (6.1 billion kilometers) in a flyby of several asteroids and Mars on its way to study and place a lander on a comet. The European-led Rosetta program accomplished the first landing on a comet in 2014. Along with its lander, Philae, it was launched in 2004. $1.6 billion VENUS The price tag on Rosetta might seem high, but it's actually less than half of the cost of a modern submarine. The American Navy has 75 of them in commission right now. International Space Station NASA, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency (JAXA), ESA, Canadian Space Agency (CSA) Hubble Space Telescope The ISS flies in orbit around the Earth at a height of between NASA, ESA 205-270 miles (330-435 kilometers). In orbit 343 miles *.............. The ISS's first pieces were launched into space in 1998. Since then, it has been a center for science and international cooperation. It is possibly the most expensive single item ever constructed. It is funded through 2024, after which time the Russian portions may be used to (552 kilometers) above Earth. Earth's famous outer space telescope was launched in 1990 and is still in operation today. It's not the first of its kind but it is perhaps the most beloved. Its final servicing mission took place in 2009, and it could continue operations through 2040. Its replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, will be launched in 2018. As opposed to a visible-light telescope, the JWST is an infrared telescope that will help scientists study stars. create a new station. $161 billion The cost of the ISS is nearly unrivaled. It's more than the nominal estimated GDP for the nation of Hungary in 2015! Still, it's less than the proposed $700 billion bailout of the American financial $13.46 billion The most expensive building in the world, the Abraj Al Bait (a Saudi Arabian government building) is a mere clocktower. Still, it costs almost $15 billion, making the big ticker more expensive than one of our most powerful scientific telescopes. system in 2008. EARTH STATES UNITED Project Mercury NASA NASA 1 Project Gemini Mercury-Atlas 9, or “Faith 7," traveled the farthest and longest of all manned missions, 474,606 nautical miles (878,971 kilometers) by launching into orbit and completing 22 Earth orbits before returning. GEMINI NASA Gemini VII was the longest mission of the Gemini program, traveling 4.87 million nautical miles Project Mercury was one of NASA's earliest projects, created with the goal to place a human being in Earth's orbit and return them safely. It laid the groundwork for future space exploration and consisted of many unmanned tests as well as manned space missions. (9.03 million kilometers) and completing 206 orbits of the Earth over a two-week period. After Project Mercury, NASA and the United States set a goal of placing a man on the moon. Project Gemini was designed to test all of the components and techniques that would be necessary to carry out a successful moon landing. It achieved the first spacewalk and the first docking of one vehicle with another, and it extended the amount of time possible for a human to live in space. $173 billion The Ferrari 250 GTO currently holds the world record as the most expensive car sold at auction, selling for more than $38 million. Only 39 of them were ever made. If six more were produced and all were sold at the record price, the proceeds of the auction could have funded America's first foray into space. $1.9 billion Each mission of Project Gemini cost around $730 million dollars, which is less than the box office gross for the second Pirates of the Caribbean film, Dead Man's Chest, which made an estimated $1.06 billion. MOON APOLLO Project Apollo NASA Those missions that did not approach the moon entered orbit around the Earth. The farthest distance traveled by any Apollo craft was during Apollo 7. The distance traveled for that mission APOLLO was estimated at 3,953,842 miles (7,322,515 kilometers) which was 163 orbits of Earth. However, it was during the near-disastrous and heroic epic of Apollo 13 that the record of "farthest humans from Earth" was Apollo 11 NASA Launching from Earth, Apollo 1l entered into the moon's orbit, sent down a lander, and then returned with its crew for a total estimated set. The crew of Apollo 13 reached a distance of 248,655 miles (400,171 kilometers) from Earth as they passed the far side of the moon. distance of 953,700 miles |(1.5 million kilometers) **....... Apollo 11 was the mission that put the first humans on the moon. The astronauts remained Apollo 11 wasn't the only mission in Project Apollo, of course! From tragic beginnings in the fire that killed the crew of Apollo 1, through unmanned tests and safety improvements, to manned flights and slingshots around the moon, to the victory of 11 and the drama and heroism of 13, Project Apollo is perhaps NASA's most famous and enduring achievement. on the moon for almost a whole Earth day after landing. The mission and its crew continue to inspire and propel forward the future of space travel. $19.6 billion $207.4 billion As influential as Apollo 11 was, the collective value of the 32 NFL franchises eclipses its cost by two times at $45.7 billion." INTERSTATE COWBOYS 95 Project Apollo took us to the moon. Individually, each mission cost around $20 billion. The total cost of $207.4 billion seems like an astronomical sum of money, but it's less than half the adjusted cost of the terrestrial United States Interstate Viking program NASA No data could be found for the distance traveled Highway System. by the Viking orbiters to Mars. The landers themselves, however, were not designed to move and were more like stationary labs. At the time of its launch in 1975, the Viking program was the boldest and most expensive mission to Mars to date. The landers carried by Viking orbiters landed on the surface in 1976. Thanks to the data gathered by the Vikings, further exploration of Mars is possible today. isra Mangalyaan Indian Space ResearchOrganisation (ISRO) 480 million miles (780 million kilometers) Via a Hohmann transfer orbit around the sun and to Mars. $3.83 billion India's Mangalyaan, also called the Mars Orbiter Mission, is the least expensive mission to Mars to date. NASA is supplying support to the mission and is in agreement with ISRO to cooperate on future joint missions as well. Many scientists and experts believe that the low cost of this mission is an indicator of marvelous things that can be done for the future of sustainable space travel. Paving the way to Mars cost less than the almost $5.38 billion it took to build the most expensive casino in the world, the Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore. $75 million Almost four times less expensive than what it cost Infinity Ward and Activision to develop the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 MODENN WANA KEBAIN Spirit and Opportunity Part of the Mars Exploration Rover mission, or MER - NASA After landing on Mars, Spirit covered 4.8 miles (7.7 kilometers) and Opportunity has traveled 26.4 miles (42.5 kilometers) across the Martian surface. Opportunity holds the record for the longest distance traveled off-world. MARS The tiny Spirit and Opportunity rovers were only intended to explore Mars for 90 days. They began activity in 2004. Spirit continued to communicate with Earth until 2010, and Opportunity is still active to this day! As of March, 2015, Opportunity has roved the distance of a marathon. $944 million Our beloved Mars rovers cost less than $1 billion, a pittance compared to the Beijing Summer Beijing 2002 Olympics of 2008, which worked with an operating budget of $44 billion! CIORITY Curiosity Mars 2020 URIOSITY NASA NASA 352 million miles (567 million kilometers) to Mars and 6.2 miles (9.9 kilometers) on the surface of Mars. Since this mission is just an estimate and hasn't happened yet, it's not known how far the Mars 2020 rover will travel. However, the design is based on the long-lasting Curiosity rover, so it could be quite far! The Curiosity rover was launched in 2011 and has been crawling the surface of Mars since 2012. Its two-year mission has been extended indefinitely. It carries with it a plaque with 1.2 million human signatures from across the world. The Viking landers, Spirit and Opportunity rovers, and the Curiosity rover have led to this point – the future of Mars exploration! The Mars 2020 rover will be similar to Curiosity. Its objective, similar to the Gemini Project, will be to prepare NASA for a manned mission to Mars. $2.5 billion Estimated $1.5 billion Americans spend almost seven times the cost of the Curiosity mission every year celebrating Valentine's Day. The next leap to Mars should cost less than the adjusted cost it took to build Yankee Stadium in New York City. Yankees VESTA NEW YORK Dawn NASA, with parts contributed from the Netherlands, Italy, and Germany CERES 3 billion miles (4.9 billion kilometers) in a gravity-hop flyby of Mars, then to the protoplanets Vesta and Ceres. Dawn was launched by NASA in 2007 to study two dwarf planets, or protoplanets, in the asteroid belt, called Vesta and Ceres. It's the first NASA craft to use ion propulsion, which allows it to enter and leave the orbit of many different celestial bodies. Previous spacecraft have been confined to flybys. JUPITER $512 million Kim Kardashian has been married three times, and the total cost of all three of her weddings is about $30 million. If we speculate that to be about $10 million per wedding, then 48 more weddings could fund a trip to the asteroid belt. Pioneer 10 NASA Over its 25-year history, Pioneer 10 traveled more than 8 billion recorded miles (12.8 billion kilometers) through space. Although contact has been lost, it is assumed that the ship is still traveling toward Aldebaran. It is thought to currently be 11 billion miles out in deep space. Missio Pioneer 10 was launched as the first mission to lilen Galileo explore Jupiter. It's the first spacecraft to escape the solar system, and will soon join the Voyager crafts in traversing interstellar space. Although slower than Voyager, Pioneer 10 was, well, a pioneer! Voyager and future outer-solar-system missions would not have been possible without it. NASA, German Aerospace Center (DLR) From launch to its final impact into Jupiter, Galileo traveled 2.8 billion miles (4.6 billion kilometers) $471 million ****..... Galileo was launched in 1989 to study Jupiter and its moons. It was the first craft to enter orbit around Jupiter, it discovered the first asteroid moon, and it observed a comet colliding with Jupiter. Unfortunately, since Galileo was not sterilized before launch, it was forced to crash into Jupiter at the end of its mission in 2003. This was done to prevent potential contamination of Jupiter's moons by Earth bacteria. $1.4 billion The first ship to reach escape velocity from our solar system cost less than the back-to-back production costs of The Hobbit film trilogy. If every person living in the United States were to give NASA $5, they could pay for the Galileo mission to Jupiter. SATURN HF 35211243 A F6 TUE UNITED SENTES DRISIKYO HF 35211243 A DOL LAKS Cassini-Huygens USA, ESA, Italian Space Agency (ASI) 2.2 billion miles (3.5 billion kilometers) in a flyby gravity assist of Venus, Earth, and Jupiter and then to Saturn. Cassini-Huygens was launched in 1997 and began studying Saturn in 2004. It continues its mission to this day. Cassini is the orbiter, and Huygens is the lander. Huygens' landing on Saturn's moon, Titan, was the first landing ever completed in the outer solar system. $3.68 billion URANUS The Australian Parliament building, adjusted for inflation, cost a little more than $4.2 billion. And how many of Saturn's moons have they landed on, eh? AUEYRA Voyager 1 and 2 NASA As of October 2015, Voyager 1 is 11.9 billion miles (19.9 billion kilometers) away from Earth. The total distance traveled by Voyager 1 as of January 2015 was more than 16.7 billion miles (26.9 billion kilometers). Its primary mission was to perform a flyby of Jupiter, Saturn, and Saturn's moon Titan. It has since continued operation and left the solar system. The Voyager program was developed to explore the outer solar system. The twin probes were launched in 1977. Voyager 1 became the first man-made object to enter interstellar space in 2012. Voyager 2 will follow it out of the solar system in 2016. They carry with them golden records that are intended to be time capsules of human culture for potential aliens to discover. To this day, the craft are active and able to return scientific data. It's expected that they will continue to operate into 2025. NEPTUNE HORIZONS New HorizONS $3.7 Billion NASA 2.96 billion miles (4.76 billion kilometers) Using a gravity assist at Jupiter to launch to Pluto and beyond. Astoundingly, sending two probes out of our solar system cost five times less than the Launched in 2006, New Horizons only recently returned amazing images of one of the farthest bodies from our sun, Pluto. It is now destined to explore the mysterious Kuiper Belt. "Big Dig" highway project outside of Boston, Massachusetts. $100 million At the time of its rendezvous with Pluto, the New Horizons mission cost about a quarter per mile traveled. It also cost less than an NFL stadium – it is often MINNESOTA VIKINGS Compared to the $1 billion Vikings stadium. SOURCES:|| | || | | | || | || | || | ||| || | | | | PLUTO Ignite spot Outsourced Accounting Rosetta

The Cost of Space Travel

shared by jmcneely109 on Jan 10
People say that exploring space is expensive, and that the money could be put to better use. But when you look at it from a historical perspective, NASA, ISRO, the ESA, and others have provided a lot ...




Did you work on this visual? Claim credit!

Get a Quote

Embed Code

For hosted site:

Click the code to copy


Click the code to copy
Customize size