The First "Spaceship" This should maybe be NASA's first goal, money saver and way to get to Mars. It is less than the title makes it look like. It would be similar in scale to the International Space Station, it would have ion or plasma thrusters, it would be modular and would be versatile in that you could put various landers on it. Basically, it's an all-in-one vehicle that eliminates the need for refueling stations because of the engines that would be the offspring of something like the VASIMR rocket engine. The only thing that one would need to make for each mission following the construction of such a craft is different landers. Because the landers themselves would simply reattach to the craft after returning from the surface of a planet, astronauts could return to the earth on whatever we end up replacing the space shuttle with. A reasonable size might be around 8 separate capsules, plus supplies and resupplies. So, at 500 million per capsule launch, plus 50 million for the capsule that gives a price somewhere in the vicinity of 3 billion dollars in just construction and launching. Development could cost many more billions, but so would any other alternative so it's a constant factor and therefore not a factor to consider against other projects. A major factor in reducing price is the long lasting engines which could be computer controlled to keep the craft unmanned for periods of time without exploration so that constant resupply isn't needed, unlike the space station, which will cost many billions of dollars in resupply. Obama proposed going to an asteroid and then Mars orbit and then a more loose goal of someday landing on it. What a craft like this could do is go to the moon, an asteroid and Mars more cheaply than going to an asteroid and then Mars with two separate spacecraft. This is another developmental idea that I've had and would like some ideas and constructive feedback.