Millionaire Dennis Tito is hoping to deliver space tourists to Mars by 2018. If the Inspiration Mars Foundation is successful, it would beat governmental agencies in delivering humans to the Red Planet.
Tito is expected to hold a news conference on February 27 in which he will announce the 501-day round trip mission to Mars.
In an official advisory notice, an Inspiration Mars Foundation member reveals:
“This ‘Mission for America’ will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It is intended to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation.”
Dennis Tito is no stranger to space travel, having spent $20 million for an eight-day trip to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2001.
The foundation is supported by Paragon Space Development Corp., an agency that specialized in life-support systems and space-medicine.
Following his February 27 press conference, Tito will give a March 3 talk at an aerospace conference in Montana. Tito’s talk is titled “Feasibility Analysis for a Manned Mars Free Return Mission in 2018.”
According to NewSpace Journal, the paper Tito will discuss focuses on “a crewed free-return Mars mission that would fly by Mars, but not go into orbit around the planet or land on it. This 501-day mission would launch in January 2018, using a modified SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched on a Falcon Heavy rocket.”
While no cost for the mission has been revealed, it will be privately financed by individuals hoping to visit Mars.
Five hundred and one days in space has raised concerns over an astronaut’s psychological and sociological state. International Space Station astronauts currently spend no more than six months in space.