Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Mars diamonds prize

As a way to encourage space travel experimentation
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(+4, -1)
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A way to stimulate research into space travel. $100 million dollars in diamonds is landed on Mars in a very tricky to get into enclosure, to discourage attempts by drones.

First person to retrieve them in person, gets to keep them.

I'm thinking this might provide the incentive for more people to focus on ways to travel in space, and try out some of the more unconventional ideas.

I was thinking $100 million in Euro, but maybe such a big draw.

not_morrison_rm, Apr 07 2012

"Hat over the fence" to Space _22Hat_20over_20the...nce_22_20to_20Space
[tatterdemalion, Apr 07 2012]

ISDC 2011 Keynote http://www.youtube....watch?v=Wy2kIPLsUn0
Related to why boots-on-mars as an end in and of itself is kind of stupid. [Hive_Mind, Apr 08 2012]

Mars Attracts! http://www.newscien...-made-of-glass.html
There may be some Rhinestones up there for a space cowboy... [4whom, Apr 16 2012]


       How about the first person to Mars gets to keep Mars?
ldischler, Apr 07 2012

       Ok, and I'll throw in a handy barbecue set as well.   

       Erm, where are you going to keep it anyway? Be a devil trying to get that through Customs..
not_morrison_rm, Apr 07 2012

       And $100mil in diamonds wouldn't?
Alterother, Apr 07 2012

       By the time anyone managed to build a ship and fly to Mars and back, inflation would mean that $100 million worth of diamonds would consist of three record styli and one of those tile cutting tools.
pocmloc, Apr 07 2012

       Inflation isn't going to reduce the value of this stash of diamonds, pocmloc, but technology might.
ldischler, Apr 07 2012

       I'm having a hard time finding any information on whether Mars already has diamonds.   

       The value of diamonds adjusts with inflation, because the people who control the diamond market set the prices. Why diamonds have any value betond their practical uses, I don't know, but inflation isn't an issue. $100m in diamonds will always be worth +/- $100m
Alterother, Apr 07 2012

       The value of diamonds is kept artificially high through tight control of production and sales. Among other things, that is why you cannot resell diamonds for anything like their purchase price.   

       If you're trying to pick something with lasting value precious metals or colored stones (which are actually rare) are a far better choice.
MechE, Apr 07 2012

       Real estate isn't a bad option, either. I believe someone mentioned that already.
Alterother, Apr 07 2012

       If you want an obscure one, current UK stamps, not the collectable ones. The first class ones are always usable, no matter when they were bought and the price only ever goes up. "A first-class stamp will rise in price from 46p to 60p from 30 April ".
not_morrison_rm, Apr 08 2012

       That would also save on fuel for the return journey.
spidermother, Apr 08 2012

       If you DHL'd yourself to Mars, who would sign for the delivery?
Ling, Apr 08 2012

       The janitor at the Giant Robot Space Rhinoceros dispatch center.
Alterother, Apr 08 2012

       //If you DHL'd yourself to Mars, who would sign for the delivery//   

       I'd sign it myself, I trust me implicitly...except around money, chocolate or the toy section of a department store.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 08 2012

       There's also the basic problem that any conceivable mission to Mars would require so much funding that a mere $100M would account for far, far less than a tenth of the funding. Not much incentive, that!   

       Plus, there's the problem that diamonds probably aren't going to be worth much in the future, as a) as mentioned, they aren't all that rare, and the artificial scarcity might collapse, and b) diamonds are relatively easy and cheap to make, which is likely to seriously change the price of diamond in the future.   

       And here's another, more serious question: Why do we <i>want</i> to go to Mars? No, seriously. Why?   

       Yes, it's out there, Yes it's almost habitable, Yes it's cool, yes we've been wanting to go there for years... but in the end, once you've planted your boots on Mars, said some historically important lines, grabbed the diamonds / artworks / fence-throwing hat or whatever, taken some soil samples, collected some rocks... what now? All you've done is just given us Apollo, or at best ISS, all over again, except on Mars this time: awesome, horribly expensive, and ultimately a one- shot that we'll eventually stop going to, just like we did the Moon, because "science" or "because it's cool" just isn't a good enough reason to spend the billions (or trillions) and the several months and the horrid risk to get there and back without any serious incentive.   

       If you really want to encourage space development, what you might want to do is keep those valuables- or rather, a much larger sum- and make them a prize, with more reasonable scale. $10 billion for the first person to go to the Moon and back for two or three billion or less, for instance. Or, scaling back, take that $100M and make it a prize for doing an orbit with a reasonably sized vehicle for significantly cheaper than we've ever done. These things would serve as incentives to make access to space easier, which will aid in developing space instead of just flinging ourselves out there.   

       Or, if you /really/ want to encourage space development in a way that ensures we actually stay up there and keep going, spend those millions and the billions more you would have spent on secretly sending your cargo to Mars, and become an "angel" investor and invest that money in private spaceflight startups. Commercializing spaceflight and making it subject to market pressures would be the best way to make it accessible, reliable, and cheap, and as this would ultimately lead to making money out of space travel would incentivize people to start going and actually doing things more than "but it's Mars! Wow!" ever could.
Hive_Mind, Apr 08 2012

       //Why do we <i>want</i> to go to Mars? No, seriously. Why?//   

       To get the fecking diamonds, do pay attention!
pocmloc, Apr 08 2012

       ^ Woke up the dogs laughing. And we're talking really lazy dogs.
Alterother, Apr 08 2012

       I found that pretty funny as well.
Hive_Mind, Apr 08 2012

       //Why do we <i>want</i> to go to Mars? No, seriously. Why?//   

       The shiny stuff, the ice, the big, big, big money is available.
MikeD, Apr 09 2012

       [MikeD], you may have a better perspective on this than all of us, given your current environs. Nice to see you, by the way.
Alterother, Apr 09 2012

       Of course, a rather more underhand person than myself would do the launch, and then "oh dear, oh dear, oh dear..did I forget to put the diamonds on the rocket.."
not_morrison_rm, Apr 10 2012

       If you could get there in person, you could just claim it. Plant your flag. Even if you died on the way back your heirs could sell the property.
bungston, Apr 10 2012

       I'm just looking at this from the "well, you an build up your physics knowledge over the centuries to the point that you generate x-rays with a big machine, or you could just use a roll of sticky tape in a vacuum chamber to achieve exactly the same effect" point of view.   

       Give enough people a good enough incentive and one of them will find the way to get there that doesn't involve being strapped to an oversize firework.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 11 2012

       //one of them will find the way to get there that doesn't involve being strapped to an oversize firework//   

       Then what's the point?
DIYMatt, Apr 12 2012

       $100 million? Seriously? That's gonna be a pretty crappy space jalopy, if that's all there is to offer at the other end.   

       $100M will buy you just under 25 miles of 4-lane asphalt roadway with shoulder section and median strip; no bridges, no corners; no significant levelling earthworks. Or it will get you about 500 feet of 4-lane bridge, give or take.   

       It's a fucking long way to Mars and back.
UnaBubba, Apr 12 2012

       //$100 million dollars in diamonds is landed on Mars in a very tricky to get into enclosure, to discourage attempts by drones.//   

       I think it would be enough of an achievement to get anything back from mars, whether retrieved by person or robot. And I think $100 million would be sufficient incentive - make the incentive too big and you get inefficient solutions to the problem.
xaviergisz, Apr 12 2012

       It might get you there, though probably not back.
UnaBubba, Apr 12 2012

       // $100M will buy you just under 25 miles of 4-lane asphalt roadway with shoulder section and median strip//   

       Obviously my problem would be one of storage, kind of tricky to keep that in the spare cupboard. Unless miniaturised of course..hmmmm..
not_morrison_rm, Apr 12 2012

       //It might get you there, though probably not back.// Just reassign the lane to 'inbound' traffic. You'll need good brakes.
spidermother, Apr 12 2012

       Major shooting self in foot exercise here, but I'm thinking of some way to impose "me" on something else. Presently 72kg mostly of water with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen is sitting here doing the typing on planet Earth. Mars has all of these, so the problem is how to get the "me" from here to there. So no big fireworks involved.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 13 2012

       Wait wait wait wait wait.   

       UnaBubba's back? When did this happen?   

       [Guys I'm SO OBSERVANT]
Hive_Mind, Apr 13 2012

       Yesterday, to get the fecking diamonds, do pay attention!
UnaBubba, Apr 13 2012

       Thinking about it (an activity I rarely indulge in) it would be better just to send a load of carbon in an impactor.   

       Mars's atmosphere is pretty thin, so a fairly straight down trajectory into the side of Mt Olympus, should compress the carbon into diamond at a very wild guess.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 14 2012

       Thanks, [Alterother]. It's nice to be seen. I took my telescope set-up (Starth Vader) out to a small outpost the day before the day before yesterday. Amazing views from there. Venus, Jupiter, Orion Nebula, Mars and Saturn.... in that order. 300X magnification of Mars in true color, and various color filters demonstrated no piles of diamonds, however.   

       Aside: That was Starth's fourth, fifth and sixth combat route-clearance missions. My favorite past-time is refusing TOC personnel their requests to "take a look" through Starth on account of them not having as many missions "outside the wire" as he does.
MikeD, Apr 14 2012

       //I took my telescope set-up (Starth Vader) //   

       Would I be wrong in suspecting you have a small spotting scope called "Look" (best done with the Geordie long "o" vowel sound)?
not_morrison_rm, Apr 16 2012


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