November 21, 2013
Billionaire Dennis Tito, tired of being told that we can’t send humans to Mars just yet, on Wednesday revealed his scheme for launching two astronauts to the red planet as early as December 2017.
Dubbed “Inspiration Mars,” the flyby mission would exploit a rare alignment of Earth and Mars that minimizes the time and the fuel it would take to get to Mars and back home again. The astronauts would come within 100 miles of the Martian surface before being slung back to Earth.
“It would be a voyage of around 800 million miles around the sun in 501 days,” Tito testified Wednesday at a hearing of the House subcommittee on space. “No longer is a Mars flyby mission just one more theoretical idea. It can be done. Not in a matter of decades, but in a few years.”
Tito is a former engineer who made a fortune in investment management and, in 2001, became the first person to pay his way into space, buying a seat on a Russian rocket. Now he’s pitching Inspiration Mars as a national priority for the United States. Grab this rare chance to go to Mars quickly or risk seeing China or Russia get there first, he told members of Congress.
This article was posted: Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 6:21 am