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 Promote Innovation • Advance space exploration  Provide objective advice

How much did we really spend to go to the Moon?

The United States spent $20.6 billion preparing to go to the Moon the first time. The actual expeditions to and around the Moon (there were 9) cost $4.6 billion. Accurate accounting helps to establish an appropriate baseline for calculating the cost of future space missions, including a permanent return. 

Read Howard McCurdy's summary of the cost of the Apollo Moon program. 

About Us

Two Pi is a university-based initiative that examines government policies aimed at promoting innovation in space science and technology.

Two Pi provides information and policy advice through objective analysis and research. These efforts result in the production of publicly-available papers that can be found on the 2Pi web site. The site also features materials that assist in the teaching of science and technology policy.

Cost Estimates for Sending Humans to Mars: A Continuing Conversation

Since the mid-20th century scholars and engineers have estimated the cost for humans to reach Mars. The estimates for this venture have ranged from as little as $2 billion to hundreds of billions of dollars. As of now, there is a growing consensus among experts that the price tag to get to the Red Planet sits around $500 billion.  

Essay prepared by Dr. Howard McCurdy and Matthew Winchell

How much does space exploration cost?

Howard McCurdy and Roger Launius propose a method for assessing the financial burden that space expeditions impose on the national economy.  The method calculates the cost of the program as a proportion of the gross domestic product in the year the expedition is approved.  Excerpted from their new on NASA Spaceflight: A History of Innovation by Launius and McCurdy, published in late 2017 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Read the Excerpt (Under Construction)

A Science, Technology, and Space Policy Initiative