Manned Mars Mission Could Be Only Four Years Away

U.S. billionaire reveals ambitious interplanetary travel plan

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U.S. billionaire Dennis Tito became the first person to pay his way into space in 2001.

Billionaire Dennis Tito has some big ideas about sending people to Mars. The former-engineer-turned-space-traveler unveiled plans on Wednesday to fly two astronauts to the red planet as early as 2017.

The mission, known as “Inspiration Mars”, would travel within 100 miles of the planet’s surface before returning to Earth, taking advantage of a rare alignment of the two planets that would reduce the time and fuel needed to complete the 800-million-mile journey. One of the main challenges of the mission will be keeping the crew healthy, physically and psychologically, for the 501 days they’re in space, the Washington Post reports.

Initially, Tito said private rockets could be used to minimize the need to involve NASA in the project. But after completing a feasibility study, he has now sought the agency’s help in the form of a $700 million investment and the loan of a jumbo rocket, set to be built by 2017. Private donors will also have to cough up $300 million for the mission, but Tito believes the cost is worth it to beat Russia and China to the feat.

“We firmly believe the Inspiration Mars is our last chance to be first in space and stay first in space,” he said.

NASA has not been as enthusiastic about the project, saying it could give “technical and programmatic expertise” but is unable to commit to sharing expenses at this stage.

[Washington Post]

14 comments
Titanus
Titanus

If my tax dollars are going to pay for a trip to Mars someone better put boots on the ground and a flag in the air.  We own that section!  So many people think that the resources of Earth are infinite.  There is so little understanding of how short we will soon be on a lot of what we take for granted today.  It would also be nice way to give the finger to certain leaders of certain countries that think they are better than the US based on test scores and national debt.  Yea, we have our problems but then again we have been to Mars, would be nice to be able to say.  This may not have any value to someone who did not go through the cold war but your in a conflict with China now so get ready to get schooled on global ideological competition.  

db4490
db4490

"Billionaire reveals interplanetary travel plan that minimizes his out-of-pocket, milks taxpayers for precious dollars, all to satisfy his bored ego".  Story at 11.  Pah-leez.  C'mon dude, who gives a crap about Mars?  The only Mars worth visiting is the plant that makes Peanut M&Ms.   


Nerdenator
Nerdenator

*looks down*

Ah, a bunch of people who can't see the value in an expedition to Mars when we're running out of resources and room here on Earth. 

In other words, idiots.

The US's reputation in STEM is falling like a rock. Why? Because no one wants to do anything cool anymore, all under the guise of "we have problems to fix here on Earth". The people who suggest that don't realize that the people who fix those problems (people in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are brought into the field by wishing to do things like send people to Mars. We _need_ to do things like this, or else our competitive advantage will go away and the people who work to solve these problems will either never pick up the tools to do so or will go to other countries. 

So congratulations, folks: you're content with rolling over like the corpse of a dead cat in the face of a difficult task.

zaglossus
zaglossus

I hope he stays there. The money would do so much more good here on earth.

TenaciousJim
TenaciousJim

Billionaire reveals plan to spend $700 million in taxpayer funds to send himself to Mars.  

Pay for it yourself and let us know how it goes.

awyeahh1
awyeahh1

Bored billionaire should try jumping off of a cliff.

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

We have so many fundamental problems here on Earth, why focus on Mars? Bigger rockets will not solve our social problems.

theviceman
theviceman

actually much of today's technology is a result of the engineering and discoveries made while planning and executing the moon missions. 

kristinagadfly
kristinagadfly

This mars planet has become an obsession to so many; I can't see the real benefit in doing this. seems boys and their toys like climbing a mountain because it is there is the drive behind this desires.

This is simply ego driven and the idea of beating others is obvious.

The US went to the moon 40 years ago and we haven't been back because in reality it wasn't all that important, so many ideas of living on the moon, having bases on the moon were and probably won't be realized.

If this guy wants to do something, lets see him go back to the moon and put a base up there because we haven't even done that. Seems no one finishes what they started and wants a new deal; Mars will be a fad which comes and goes like the moon did.

Cascade
Cascade

@Nerdenator Couldn't agree more.  I'm shocked that we, as a species, haven't tried to preserve our place in existence by expanding beyond this planet.  (Oh no, "species"?!  He must be talking about socialism.)  

Nerdenator
Nerdenator

@zaglossus Oh yeah. We can get him to pay more taxes so it can be used on an insanely wasteful Defense Department (1), illegal monitoring of American citizens by the NSA (2), a hackneyed website that causes more problems than it solves (3), or maybe even to prop up governments in parts of the world that are practically beyond hope (4).

(1) http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/18/us-usa-pentagon-waste-specialreport-idUSBRE9AH0LQ20131118

(2)http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/12/heres-everything-we-know-about-prism-to-date/
(3)http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2013/11/20/chao-30-to-40percent-of-aca-website-back-end-yet-to-be-completed
(4)http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/21/us-afghanistan-usa-idUSBRE9AJ0B620131121

JohnKovacich
JohnKovacich

@CarlLegg "You may leave here for 4 days in space

But when you return, it’s the same old place " 

TenaciousJim
TenaciousJim

@theviceman Nasa used technology created by the military and Nazi scientists during WW2 and in the early days of the cold war. 

There is no reason to go to Mars or go back to the Moon either.  

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

@kristinagadfly The Moon landings were certainly ego-driven, and those missions contributed significantly to our global technological advantage. It worked once, why not again?