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Monday, March 11, 2013

Destination: Mars

How about a 501-day trip of a lifetime? Heck of a millennium? ---to Mars.

Dennis Tito, who became the first space tourist in 2001, is funding a project called Inspiration Mars in which a married couple - one man and one woman in this case - will be sent on a mission to Mars in which they will orbit the red planet at an altitude of 100 miles in Aug. 2018.

”This is not a commercial mission,” Tito said in an ExtremeTech article from March 4. “Let me guarantee you, I will come out to be a lot poorer as a result of this mission. But my grandchildren will come out to be a lot wealthier through the inspiration that this will give them.”

According to an Inspiration Mars press release, "the mission will be built around proven, existing space transportation systems and technologies derived from industry, NASA and the International Space Station that can be available in time to support the launch date."

I first read about this in the Knickerbocker Ledger. But they left out at least one pretty interesting detail that's included in the ExtremeTech piece: "Spending so long in space will result in the astronauts being bombarded by a lot of solar radiation, increasing their risk of developing cancer by 3% — but Tito’s CTO has a plan: creating a radiation shield out of the astronauts’ poop." Now that's extreme technology.

And the best part: they're looking for volunteers.

The couple's accomodations will be a tad small ( an 8.5 foot inflatible cube) so they'll have to be really, really happily married. Or, as the ExtremeTech author points out, this could lead to the first interplanetary homicide.

You can email the Inspiration Mars folks here:

The target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018 - so you have a little time to think about it.


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