Millionaire Backed Mars Mission Looking For Older, Married Couple To Withstand 'Adversity' In Space

Millionaire Backed Mars Mission Looking For Older, Married Couple To Withstand ‘Adversity’

A newly founded non-profit organization led by the world’s first space tourist, millionaire Dennis Tito, has announced an ambitious plan to send an older, married couple to Mars in 2018 in what would be the first manned mission to the Red planet.

The couple will not be landing on the surface of the planet, but instead will take advantage of a rare planetary alignment that would allow a quick flyby within 100 miles of Mars before returning to Earth.

Tito — who paid $20 million to spend a total of six days on the International Space Station in 2001 — detailed plans for the private Mars Mission at a press conference today to launch his new organization, the Inspiration Mars Foundation.

The Foundation plans to select a space capsule and rocket from among those already on the market and modify them to carry two people to Mars and back in 501 days.

Tito believes that the proposed pair should be a man and a woman “because this is humanity’s first flight out to Mars and humanity should be represented by both genders.” In addition, the space enthusiast would prefer the couple to be married in order to combat the loneliness and isolation that would such a mission would entail.

“When you’re out that far and the Earth is a tiny, blue pinpoint, you’re going to need someone you can hug,” Tito told Space.com. “What better solution to the psychological problems you’re going to encounter with that isolation?

Jane Poynter, who is involved in the planning of the Mars mission, agrees.

Poynter, who previously spent two years locked away in a sealed ecosystem with seven other people in 1991 as part of the Biosphere 2 project, says mission planners want the crew to consist of an older couple because their relationship will need to be able to withstand the stress of living in a confined environment for two years.

“I can attest from personal experience from living in Biosphere 2 that having somebody that you really deeply trusted and cared for was an extraordinary thing to have,” Ms. Poynter told BBC News.

Dennis Tito paid $20 million to spend a total of six days on the International Space Station in 2001
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