An ambitious private manned mission to Mars has just been officially announced, by the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a non-profit company founded by millionaire and space tourist Dennis Tito. Image © Inspiration Mars Foundation
The plan to send humans to the Red Planet, aims to launch a two-person crew, to fly around Mars and return to Earth, in a 501 days trip, starting in January 2018.
According to Inspiration Mars Foundation:
“In 2018, the planets will literally align, offering a unique orbit opportunity to travel to Mars and back to Earth in only 501 days. Inspiration Mars is committed to sending a two-person American crew – a man and a woman – on an historic journey to fly within 100 miles around the Red Planet and return to Earth safely.
The mission’s target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018. This exceptionally quick, free-return orbit opportunity occurs twice every 15 years. After 2018, the next opportunity won’t occur again until 2031. The mission will provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, using state-of-the-art technologies derived from NASA and the International Space Station. It will be financed primarily through philanthropic donations, with some potential support from government sources.
This mission will be a flyby passing within 100 miles of the surface of Mars. Additional maneuvers will be minor course corrections only, using the gravitational influence of Mars to “slingshot” the vehicle onto a return course to Earth. An inflatable habitat module will be deployed after launch and detached prior to re-entry.
Investments in human space exploration technologies and operations by NASA and the space industry are converging in time to make such a mission achievable. The mission is being designed based on proven Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) systems and technologies that are available on the market today. We are currently in discussions with many of the leading U.S. commercial aerospace companies to tap into their existing launch engines and vehicles. Environmental and life support operations will be directly derived from International Space Station technologies, which have proven design, development and operational lessons to draw from.”
source Inspiration Mars Foundation