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Mars Space Science

Millionaire Plans Mission To Mars In 2018 97

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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 21, 2013 @07:45PM (#42973961)

    with a 'b' if he intends to go to and return from Mars.

  • Re:No humans (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @08:17PM (#42974233)

    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.

    Lots of other investors.

    And why would you invest billions for an unmanned mission, which has already been done several times? This sounds an awful lot like someone with a big ego and some money to waste.

    He really needs to read this [] before spending any money.

  • by norpy ( 1277318 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @08:39PM (#42974383)

    You forget how deep the gravity well of mars is, It's not like the moon where you can pretty much just jump to put yourself into orbit around it.
    Mars is more like taking off from earth, and the weight of all that fuel would never make it out of *our* gravity well let alone landing it safely and taking off again at the other end.
    Until we have the ability to synthesize or mine more fuel at the other end of the trip and land a reusable launch module the trip to mars is one-way.

    This is either a plan for one-way mission or it's a scam (or both?)

  • by careysub ( 976506 ) on Thursday February 21, 2013 @09:08PM (#42974591)

    You are right to point out the quibble of "no time to train the crew" is straining at a gnat.

    But you are having some trouble in trying to swallow the camel. Project Apollo cost $200 billion in current dollars to solve a much easier problem (an 8 day trip) compared to a year-and-a-half trip with an enormously larger delta-vee requirement (if you come back). Perhaps, in a similar national level high priority crash project, like the U.S. undertook in the "space race" it could be done in not much longer than 8 years. But you are looking at something exceeding the cost of Apollo.

    Yes, I know Mars One claims they have a plan for a one-way trip that will only cost 6 billion: "The six billion figure is the cost of all the hardware combined, plus the operational expenditures, plus margins." (Emphasis added.)

    But they also claim "This plan is built upon existing technologies available from proven suppliers." apparently blissfully unaware of the fact that (as rudy_wayne posted above) that no one knows how to build a workable re-entry system [] . I guess if you wave away all of the really hard problems its all quite easy.

    They also don't address the costs of maintaining the colony in perpetuity - it saves on the really hard problem of return but creates a permanent multi-billion dollar annual obligation to the Earth to keep their colony of four people alive.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Friday February 22, 2013 @12:58AM (#42976141) Homepage Journal

    Yes and it would take hundreds to thousands of years to explore all of Mars as a sterile experiment. We shouldn't wait that long to go there.

  • by DeBaas ( 470886 ) on Friday February 22, 2013 @02:57AM (#42976699) Homepage

    I believe that NASA needs to be a 'trillionaire'. No offence to NASA, but I believe that with the right idea and a smaller organisation it might actually be possible for much less money.

egrep -n '^[a-z].*\(' $ | sort -t':' +2.0