|Mars Mission Spacecraft. This is an artist's rendition of the Inspiration Mars Foundation spacecraft, |
which is scheduled to launch in January 2018 and which will bring a married couple within 160 km
of the Red Planet. Dennis Tito, American billionaire investor and former NASA rocket scientist,
is initially financing the mission.
Image Credit: Inspiration Mars Foundation, 2013
Source: Fox News
A manned mission to Mars comprising a married couple of a man and a woman, is being planned by a private enterprise and scheduled for January 5, 2018; the couple would be together in tight quarters for a 501-day trip, certainly testing their relationship. The manned spacecraft would not land on the Red Planet, but come close to it—within 160 km (100 miles)—and then make the return trip to Earth.
An article in CBC News says the mission is initially being financed by American billionaire investor, Dennis Tito, chairman of the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a non-profit organization. Tito is a former NASA rocket scientist and the world's first space tourist; the couple will be the first to travel close to Mars.
The space voyagers will come within 160 kilometres of the surface of the Red Planet, then swing around and return to Earth. "I'm just really excited about this," said Tito. "This is a challenging but attainable goal, advancing human experience and knowledge. Now is the time."
Tito lamented NASA's lack of progress in human space flight since the moon missions 40 years ago U.S. President Barack Obama said in a 2010 speech that by the mid-2030s, he envisioned being able to send humans to orbit Mars and then return them safely to Earth, and he expected to be around to see humans land on Mars after that. However, Tito said, "I'm going to be 95 years old. I don't want to wait."
He added that the 2018 launch date represents a window of opportunity when the journey from Earth to Mars will be the shortest, due to their alignment with one another. The next such opportunity won't come until 2031.
In order to move things forward, Tito said he has committed to personally funding the first two years of the project, until the end of 2014. He emphasized that it's not a commercial mission, and he doesn't expect to get rich from the venture. "Let me guarantee you, I will come out a lot poorer as a result of this mission. But my grandchildren will come out a lot wealthier through the inspiration that this will give them."
He hopes to raise the rest of the money from private donors, charitable organizations, selling media rights and selling data to NASA.This is exciting news, and is a reminder of the Space Race of the 1960s between the Americans and the Russians to decide which nation would be the first to land a manned vessel on the moon; the Americans eventually won, but so did humanity in the many technological and medicall benefits that came out of the space mission.
The mission to Mars is exciting in a similar way, notably that it reminds us of the exporer spirit still inherent in humanity; and as the Star Trek TV show said in its mission statement, "to go where no man has gone before." I wish Mr. Tito all the success with this inspirational project.
You can read the rest of the article at [CBC News].