Inspiration Mars announced a unique mission on February 27, 2013. It is not a simple around the world trip. The mission conceptualized by a private group plans to send a married couple to fly by the red planet Mars and fly back home. The initial funding of the project to the tune of $100 million is being provided by the first space tourist Denis Toto. The trip is estimated to last 501 days during which the couple will be confined to a 600 cubic foot capsule. The launch date has been fixed as January 5, 2018 to take advantage of once-in-a-generation close approach of the two planets’ orbits.
Denis Toto is Investing $100 Million in the Mission
NASA is not involved in this mission in any way and will be challenging for the crew and the couple as it will be a stripped down mission in terms of complexity and automation and a space craft made according to an austere design. However experts feel that the mission will cost at least $1 billion. The seed money provided by the tycoon will help kick start the project and the balance will be arranged through donations, advertising and media partnerships. Inspiration Mars also released an artist’s conception of the spacecraft envisioned by the group behind the ambitious project.
The Spacecraft Will Pass Within 100 Miles of Mars
Taber MacCallum, the chief technical officer of the group and a potential crew member pointed out that it will be a tough mission and the passengers can’t expect the comforts of a private jet. In the 16 month voyage the crew and the couple will face many trying circumstances including no showers, limits on toilet paper and clothing, drinking water made from the crew members’ recycled urine and sweat, and almost no privacy. The spacecraft is expected to pass within 100 miles of the Martian surface and survival itself will be a challenge. Explaining the idea behind sending a couple, a man and a woman, on the mission, Mr. MacCullam said that it was symbolic representation of the entire humanity. The couple will be selected within a year so that they can prepare for the mission. MacCullam and his wife Jane Poynter hope to picked. The expert opinion about the mission is that it really boils down to keeping people alive for 501 days in space which is not impossible.