Paul Mampilly is out with a new teaser pitch for his intro level Profits Unlimited newsletter ($47/yr), and it’s built on the big picture themes of patriotism, thirst for exploration, and “A bold plan to make Mars our ‘Second Planet.'” You can almost hear the swelling strings of Bill Conti’s theme music for The Right Stuff in the background. Really gets the loins stirring.
But we’ll step past that part as quickly as we can — we know, after all, that when someone tries to stir your blood with waving flags and patriotic destiny, the odds are pretty good that they’re selling something. I’ll just share a little intro from the pitch here, to get you in the mood… these are Mampilly’s words:
“… if you’re anything like me, you already know there’s an incredible opportunity for exploration, innovation, and investment in space.
“You know that it’s our destiny to explore the stars.
“And you know that it’s America’s destiny to lead the way.
“Just as the early settlers sailed across the Atlantic to find their new home here…
“Just as our forefathers spread across the continent…
“A new breed of brave explorers is preparing right now to carry us to the stars.”
And the goal is to make The Martian reality, and presumably to go a bit beyond putting a lone potato farmer on the red planet…
“…. for the first time ever, the most powerful forces in government, industry, finance, and technology are working toward one common goal…
“A bold plan to make Mars our ‘Second Planet.’
“That’s right … we are on our way toward making a second home for all humanity on Mars. And America — the greatest nation in history — is leading the charge.”
That would, of course, be a massive undertaking — even with huge advances in technology, it would be a more dramatic initiative than the Apollo Lunar landing, which came only ten years after the first man-made object touched the moon, and it will take far longer to get to the prize (it’s been almost 50 years of fitful effort already — the first man-made object “landed” on Mars in 1971, the crash-landing of the Mars 2 mission, then later that year came the successful but extremely brief Mars 3 mission, had a soft landing on the planet before the spacecraft effectively died 15 seconds later).
And yes, space has had a big few years, thanks largely to the renewed lust for life at NASA in the wake of Chinese and European competition (China brought back some rocks from the moon this year, which seemed to light a fire under everyone), and that was fueled further still by the ambitious goals of billionaires, who have grown bored with owning sports teams and want to stake a larger claim on history — Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the first private shuttle service to the International Space Station, and has long had the audacious goal of a Mars mission, Richard Branson is on the verge of selling out-of-the-atmosphere tickets to millionaires bored by Space Mountain, and Jeff Bezos, now that his conquest of earth is nearly complete, is pouring a little smidge of his Amazon profits into bankrolling his Blue Origin space program.
And yes, Mars is on the table, and seems to be the next object of competition — so maybe an international race will light a fire under NASA, like Sputnik did in 1959, one never knows. The US will land another Mars rover in February, and the first Chinese mission to Mars will likely join the Perserverance rover on the surface by April. Even the United Arab Emirates are putting a spacecraft into orbit around Mars, the Hope Orbiter. The moon is back in NASA’s sights, too, with the Artemis program designed to start the work for a permanent lunar mission, and part of that includes some private companies who are participating and might become the first private firms to stick a moon landing. People seem to widely assume that a robust space station or a moon base would be critical to any future Mars mission, so those are nice signs of progress. We might even see a Tom Cruise movie shot in space, if he gets onto that next SpaceX mission to the ISS next October.
We’ll have to see how this all progresses — the reality will move more slowly than the public imagination, but it’s hard to know what will be real catalysts for either government focus or investor attention. Will the launch of the first module of China’s private Space Station conjure up images of Moonraker and push the global competition for space dominance into high gear? Or will a failed launch and a government debt crisis push NASA’s plans out another decade? I have no idea. Maybe it will all come down to Tom Cruise to save the day. Or Elon Musk.
But anyway, Mampilly is pitching his favorite inve