The Price is Right

The cost of a starship.

Illustration: The Enzmann Echolance, Edwin Pangman

NOT science fiction, written by Dr. Robert Duncan-Enzmann in the 1980s

Creeping, crawling, toddling, walking – or is it sprinting – technology. In the late 1950s and 1960s, it would have cost about 100 billion dollars to build a manned starship. In the 1970s, I estimate a larger, much better equipped, faster, and more comfortable manned starship would have cost 100 billion American dollars – and this is despite inflation. I estimate that the cost of a ship will remain at 100 billion through the 1980s and even through the 1990s. With continued inflation, the cost will remain at about 100 billion dollars for the first manned (of reasonable size) starship.

The technology available to the people of Earth isn’t creeping ahead. It is Sprinting! The predicted catastrophic famine, megadeaths, resource, and energy exhaustion for the 1970s was an ill-tempered fantasy. What really happened was an increase in life expectancy of about 1.2 years/per year in the 3rd and 4th worlds, coupled with dramatic decreases in disease and upward surges in standards of living ranging from 500% to better than 2000% for some.

Technology in the so-called western and eastern worlds is growing explosively and includes better transportation, power, communications, computers, robots, even cheaper food and clothes – and dear-to-my-heart space technology.

Almost unnoticed, all the infrastructure needed to support interstellar expeditions is being built and emplaced. Manifestly unnoticed is the building here on Earth of every sub-system needed for a starship. In the very near future, the components will be put together, manned, launched, and mankind will move out to fulfill its truly manifest destiny.