A California entrepreneur is hoping to send Sitka bulk water — to Mars.
Frank DeLay, with DeLay Unlimited Partners, has offered to purchase exclusive rights to Sitka’s excess water supply for $1 million per year for the next five years — long enough to develop a suitable market on the Red Planet.
“The potential for growth is enormous,” DeLay explained, in a teleconference last week with the board of Sitka’s Gary Paxton Industrial Park. “As far as anyone’s been able to determine, there’s not a drop of water on Mars.”
DeLay, a real estate developer based in Palmdale, California, said he’s been inspired by recent high-definition pictures sent to Earth by the Mars Perseverance Rover. “I took one look at the Jezero Crater and thought ‘golf course,’” he told the board.
Park executive director Garry White says DeLay’s proposal is no more far-fetched than any idea that’s come his way, most of which have also been backed by cash. Over the past decade, Sitka has sold $1.75 million in water rights to a handful of terrestrial companies, none of which has shipped a significant amount of product anywhere.
“It (DeLay’s proposal) actually makes more sense than most,” White said. “Earth is 80-percent water, and everyone so far has proposed transporting it in ships — over water. Does that strike anyone else but me as a bit ironic?”
DeLay said he will ship Sitka’s water to the Kodiak spaceport in containers, where it could be blasted toward Mars aboard SpaceX rockets. On arrival at the Red Planet, DeLay did not see significant barriers to commerce, other than the fact that liquid water would boil off instantly in the planet’s extremely low atmospheric pressure.
“They had the same sort of problems in Las Vegas and Palm Springs before they were developed,” DeLay told the board. “But, if you can build a golf course, you can build a civilization.”
The Gary Paxton Industrial Park board unanimously supported DeLay’s proposal, even going so far as to provide him with Sitka’s bank account and routing number, for direct deposit of the first annual payment.
The Sitka Assembly is scheduled to take up the matter in a special meeting on April 1 in Harrigan Centennial Hall.