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Mars Space Science

Millionaire Plans Mission To Mars In 2018 97

Posted by samzenpus
from the mars-needs-millionaires dept.
littlesparkvt writes in with news about the possibility of a privately funded Mars mission. "Millionaire Dennis Tito became the first paying customer to make a trip to the International Space Station and now he wants to launch a privately funded mission to Mars in 2018. Dennis paid a reported 20 Million to ride aboard a Russian rocket to the International Space Station and has since stayed out of the spotlight, until now. There’s no word whether the trip will include humans, there will be more information on that fact next week. Considering there is little time to train a crew for the mission the flight in 2018 will most likely be an unmanned probe. There’s also a possibility that the first mission to Mars from this private investor will harbor supplies for future astronauts. Plants and food are a possibility as they would take much less space than a full human crew."
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Millionaire Plans Mission To Mars In 2018

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  • by LVSlushdat (854194) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @07:45PM (#42973963)

    If Dennis is got the $$$ to float this kind of a plan, why the hell doesn't he get onboard with the Mars-One group? They actually have a pretty fleshed-out plan to put human colonists on Mars starting in 2023. They could really use a large influx of $$$ to get their plan going.. From what I've read, they have it pretty well planned out to send the first 4 colonists to Mars in 2023, but still need a lot more sponsors/funding...

  • by Sir or Madman (2818071) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @07:58PM (#42974067)

    The two ideas are perfectly compatible. Tito's mission could be a proof-of-concept for actually getting people out that far and back. The Mars-One people could learn from his mistakes.

    Correction: the The Mars-One people -must- learn from Tito's mistakes because there will be many and Mars-One has pretty lofty goals. Even going to our moon required baby steps, unmanned satellites, first dog in space, first person in orbit, etc.

  • by darth_borehd (644166) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @08:58PM (#42974507)

    With this millionaire and the Mars One group planning a trip in 2023, has anybody thought of the contamination this might cause.

    NASA and space agencies around the world have been trying to find life, or evidence life once existed, on Mars for years. If we have several independent groups landing their own spacecraft, is there a chance they might careless contaminate Mars with Earth microbes, thus throwing any future findings into question?

  • Re:No humans (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tlambert (566799) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @09:53PM (#42974965)

    What's his net worth? I found something quoting $200 million, which would be well short of the cost of even an unmanned Mars mission. He'll have to get other investors.

    I'm pretty sure that really depends on who he's going to have build the equipment, and whether he's willing to do it in a country which will happily ignore patent licensing.

    The DC-X was completed in 21 months by a team of 100 people, at a cost of around 60 million in 1991 dollars. That'd be ~$100M today, assuming we learned exactly zilch from the first one. If he's willing to build SSTO vehicles, and he's willing to cut some corners based on what was already learned in previous research, and he's willing to go to a non-US friendly country who won't cooperate on preventing it, the costs go down.

    Venezuela could be a candidate, and so could a couple of the former Soviet Republics. A DC-X with a patent-ignoring linear aerospike engine would likely be a pretty sweet vehicle. If he's willing to sell launch services on the things for a while, he could probably raise any additional funding rather quickly. If he's willing to sell completed spacecraft to anyone who wanted to buy one at a hefty markup, he could probably do it even faster.

    It's not that far outside the realm of possibility for someone with 1/5th of a billion dollars to consider. Especially if you consider that launch costs have been pretty intentionally inflated up to this point.

  • by multiben (1916126) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @11:14PM (#42975497)
    That "much easier problem" in the terms of the 1960s was just as big, if not bigger than a mars mission with today's understanding of space travel. We have already sent men into space for considerably longer than 8 days - in fact we'd already done that before we went to the moon. Granted, this is everything on a bigger scale, but the unknowns facing us are nothing compared to what we faced when we first put a man in a rocket.
  • by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Friday February 22, 2013 @05:31AM (#42977339)
    I advocate the reverse: Introduce some radiation-hardened plants that can survive in a low-oxygen atmosphere on purpose. Let them spread and prepare the planet for future colonization. We have checked for life, there isn't any.
    Creating an oxygen rich atmosphere on Mars will probably take centuries, so we should start now.

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