The Mars Consortium 2011 The Space Review

By now you can see what a quagmire gaining public support or government funding can be. This is why for several years I have been working on a concept called “The Mars Consortium”. The advantage of this concept is that it takes the cost issue out of the equation by involving the private sector as mission lead. It does not mean that the private sector pays for everything, as that is unrealistic, but it does mean that they lead the way and work with governments where possible in partnership to send humans to Mars and permanently reduce the cost of space access.
This, then, is a framework for how this might all start. SpaceX has the cheapest large rockets available today and any human mission to Mars within a private/public consortium would do well to focus their plans on this company at this time. They provide access to the cheapest space transportation means at present.
The goal would be to first organize a gathering of potential consortium partners to discuss a framework for moving ahead and what the specific strategy would be to get humans to Mars quickly and with the twin benefit of making space access cheaper. Their goal should be to get a crew to Mars in the shortest possible time, to beat governments to that goal, and, by doing so, to awaken many governments and their populations as to their weaknesses. That first mission would need to be cheap and light but also ensure that a long-term program was the objective. If it could be kept below $5 billion, it’s likely a profit could be made from that first mission.