February 21, 2013
Private Space Company Plans To Send Space Tourists To Mars By 2018
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
One space tourist is leading the initiative to kickstart a 500-day journey to the Red Planet, starting in January 2018.Dennis Tito, the first private space tourist and chairman of Inspiration Mars Foundation, is planning to open up opportunities for people to take a trip to Mars in a 501-day trip.
According to a press release, the "Mission for America" is poised at helping to encourage 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."
Next Wednesday, the Inspiration Mars Foundation will be holding a press conference to unveil its plans for taking people to Mars by 2018.
Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter of the Paragon Space Development Corporation (ParagonSDC) will be in attendance for the event. This company creates life-support systems for space and other environments.
Tito first made history in 2001, after paying $20 million for a ride to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Since his expedition to space, six other individuals have taken similar flights.
According to a report by NBC, the mission to Mars being discussed next week would involve a flyby of Mars with a free return back to Earth. The type of mission would essentially be a straight trajectory, due to orbital conditions that will only be taking place in 2018 and 2031. The space tourist(s) would be heading towards the Red Planet in a modified SpaceX Dragon capsule, which NASA is considering for use for its astronauts.
According to his plan, Musk's SpaceX would start with a pioneering group of less than 10 people, who would be transported through a reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane. Eventually, he says that people would be able to grow into a self-sustaining civilization that could grow into something big.
The total cost of bringing 80,000 Earthlings to their new home on the Martian world would be about $36 billion, according to Musk.