Land rover prices will rise over the coming years, according to an analysis by MTV News.
Land Rover Technologies is set to make its first commercial Mars rover in 2020.
The company plans to launch a pair of small landers in 2020, which will carry a single rover to the surface of Mars and then return the lander to Earth.
A small, single-stage rocket will then propel the landers into orbit.
“With a single-engine rocket that can fly at 10,000 feet, the price tag of a single lander rocket will likely be as high as $150 million,” the analysis found.
The landers would cost roughly $250 million each to build.
However, the rocket’s engines are capable of producing as much as 4,200 pounds of thrust.
The cost of a two-stage booster would be $100 million to $200 million, while a single stage would be at least $400 million.
Land rover technology is already being developed by a number of companies, including SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation, and is being studied by NASA and other agencies.
A large lander will cost about $300 million, with a single booster about $100.
However a single landing is much more efficient than a series of landers.
In fact, a single single-person Mars lander could save more than $1 million on land-clearing expenses.
“The cost of getting from Earth to Mars is very much dependent on the size of the landing site and the speed of the rover,” said Mike Currie, a senior engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center, who helped with the analysis.
“We can calculate the cost of landing with the land rover by assuming the rover’s payload is equal to the number of people on Earth,” he said.
“So the total land cost will be about $5 billion.”
The cost could also be cut by using smaller, lighter vehicles, such as a CubeSat or a smaller rover.
“There’s no question that landers have potential, and there are some landers that could be quite affordable,” Currie said.
The average cost of building a single Mars landers is $150,000.
However for a small, small-size rover, Currie estimates a launch price of between $100 and $150.
“A large-size rocket will be a significant cost,” he explained.
MTV News contacted the Space Technology Corporation (STC) for comment.
A STC spokesperson declined to comment, saying that it is an open-source technology that is being evaluated.
The most recent space agency budget for fiscal year 2018 included $1.8 billion for the Commercial Resupply Services contract for Mars exploration.
In 2019, the agency said it would use $4.6 billion for Mars missions, including the Mars 2020 rover, and another $3.3 billion for an asteroid-hunting spacecraft.
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Original article at Space.com.