1. Are you saying that private industry will go to space without taxpayer financing? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.
2. If so, what's stopping them? ITAR and a host of bull crap regulation created by the government, preventing the sharing and utilization of space technologies for private space based operations. This is currently agreed upon by many, even some in government, and is being rectified, hopefully sooner than later.
3. Or are you saying that private industry would do a better, cheaper job than NASA if the taxpayers give them money? Nope, private industry can do it on their own if the playing field is leveled. NASA's role is NOT what it's doing now. It's spread too thin. The private industry should have taken up LEO operations years ago, including building the rockets.
4. If so, wouldn't there still be some government oversight (to watch out for the taxpayers billions)? Proper government oversight and regulation, yes, like the rules protecting airline passengers, but nothing more drastic than that. Fly at your own risk does have its place in space as it does in driving, aircraft flying, etc.
5. And isn't that like the current system? NASA contracts out almost everything, don't they? NASA Contractors are NOT private industry as far as I'm concerned. They don't create a product that is used by the general marketplace. They create a product specifically for government. They are beholden to government and sell to the government. That is not a private industry, that's a government contractor. I want a ride to space dammit. I'm sick of the government picking people from a select pot. Everyone should be able to go if they want too.
6. Explain this mantra, "...private industry can do it better, cheaper, etc." Here you go...
a. Private space must do it cheaper in order to be financially viable. The government doesn't give a damn about making profit, but are REAL good at over inflating costs due to asinine regulations and rules. Private industry must provide a viable product at a reasonable price for the public to afford it, so with this necessity, they must do it better and cheaper.
b. Private space must do it safely else they are toast, period. One accident and their out of business. Not so good for the bottom line.
c. Part b cannot conflict with part a. It must be reasonable, unlike NASA which makes safety so damn paramount that it takes 5 people to verify the turning of a stupid bolt. There's your cost balloon right there.
7. Economic Incentive?
a. Moon: Research Facility to be rented out to global corporations for special research that just can't be done on Earth (major revenue for that alone). Vacation Resort (modest revenue, maybe breaking even, but vital to getting many people to experience space and bring that memory home to share, which is priceless). Fuel depot with local mining for the fuel depot, but also for other materials to be used In Situ (instrumental for further advancement into space).
b. Asteroids: All about mining here. Not much else I can think of to use an asteroid for other than monitoring, but no profit in monitoring.
c. Mars: Squat. Everything Mars offers is available on Earth. Mars is another resource limited location that's a pain to get too right now with current technology. Yes, good place to move too if all hell breaks loose on Earth, but tourism, mining, etc. is already accounted for with the Moon and asteroids...at least until we develop gravity drives and glide around effortlessly through space. But then, everything changes.
And lastly, a statement I addressed: There is no product on the Moon, Mars nor NEA/NEOs that makes economic sense to bring back to Earth and get a profit.
NONE of this depends on bringing anything back to Earth, except knowledge from research and research experiments themselves. Everything else is to be done in space to be used in space, to get us AWAY from Earth, not to bring it back.
Any more questions?