Dennis Tito, who now can be considered the world’s most ambitious millionaire, has announced that he will help one couple — a man and a woman — fly to Mars and back.
The manned mission to Mars will be a true space feat, if Tito is successful. The 140 million mile trip will take roughly one and a half years, and will offer the opportunity for a (preferably) married couple to be the first humans to see Mars close-up. The space craft will not be landing on the Red Planet, but will instead orbit around it about 100 miles away before using Mars’ gravitational pull to push the spacecraft back towards Earth.
Tito, one of the brains behind the Inspiration Mars Foundation, has even set a date for take-off: Jan. 5, 2018.
“This will be a Lewis and Clark mission to Mars,” explained Taber MacCallum, CEO for space development company Paragon and one of the scientists working with Tito on the Inspiration Mars program.
The deadline, according to the group, is because the planets align perfectly together only once every 15 years, so Jan. 5, 2018 is the next opportunity for a mission like this. Otherwise, the program would have to wait until 2031.
“Who wants to wait for 2031?” Tito said. “By that time, we might have company.”
The trip will be an all-or-nothing, no turning back deal for the lucky couple. Though there will be risks, the Inspiration Mars Program does believe that that trip is feasible.
“It's 1.4 years, no chance for abort. If something goes wrong, there’s no chance of coming back … and we’re going to re-enter at record speeds, 14.2 kilometers per second,” explained MacCallum. The trip is conceptually feasible, he said, but the technical details to make it happen have yet to be completed. There are a wealth of spacecraft being developed at present, giving them a wealth of options, however.
Tito will be fronting much of the bill for this program himself, and has explained that it won’t be a money-maker. However, he is excited for the inspirational aspects of manning (and womanning) a mission to Mars.
“This is not a commercial mission,” he said. “Let me guarantee, I will come out a lot poorer as a result of this mission. But my grandchildren will come out a lot wealthier because of the inspiration they will get from this mission.”
Source: Fox News