US Millionaire Wants to Send a Married Couple to Mars in 2018

The Mars mission is ambitious but doable with current technology

There's been a surge in the number of people with wild ideas about space exploration and even manned space exploration lately. While space mining may seem a bit optimistic, private companies sending people to the moon or further sound more like pipedreams, or worse.

But that's not stopping anyone, the latest with a wild space plan is US millionaire and space tourist Dennis Tito who wants to send people to Mars.

That in itself isn't so wild, after the US has been "wanting" to send people to Mars for a while now. The difference is that Tito wants to do it in the next five years.

This while NASA's most optimistic predictions hint at 2030 as the earliest date for a manned Mars trip. But that's not to say it's impossible, the mission is designed to be simple and cheap.

Tito was the first ever space tourist in 2001 when he paid the Russians to tag along for a trip to the ISS. Now he wants to send two people, preferably a married couple, to Mars. He wants to get them back as well.

It seems like a wild idea and it is, in the sense that, while a millionaire, he doesn't have the sort of funds needed for the 501-day mission.

But the trip itself wouldn't be that complicated, it will be a simple flyby, the spacecraft will get as close as 160 km, 100 miles to Mars and then head back home.

Tito has set up the Inspiration Mars Foundation for the mission. It will be an all-American endeavor and will use existing technology.

The plan is to have a capsule shot into space and put on the right trajectory, using existing space travel technologies. Once in space, an inflatable environment will expand to provide the living quarters.

A man and a woman are wanted for the mission, preferably married. It makes sense too, spending 501 days in a very cramped environment is going to take its toll psychologically, a married couple may cope better with the constraints.

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