Mission To Mars Planned By Private Space Leaders

When we last heard from Dennis Tito, it was when the New York-born American engineer was catching a $20 million ride on the International Space Station. That was in 2001 and he did so against the wishes of NASA, instead hitting up the Russian Federal Space Agency for the lift. Now, 20+ years later, Tito plans a trip to Mars in a venture that should make him the first human ever to walk on the red planet.

On what looks to be a 500-day round trip voyage to Mars, Tito’s newly formed Inspiration Mars Foundation teases “plans to take advantage of a unique window of opportunity to launch a historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days, starting in January 2018,” reports CNET.

Details are few right now but clarity will come next week during a press conference scheduled for February 27, 2013, at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C., moderated by CNN’s Miles O’Brien.

Speculation on how the flight will go includes wondering if an actual landing on Mars will occur or if the private mission will simply (as though this is simple in any way) be a fly-by. At nearly 70 years old by the time the proposed flight happens, time is of the essence for Tito.Also involved in the project is Paragon Space Development Corporation most recently involved with the life-support systems in the Red Bull Stratos Space Jumper, world’s-highest sky dive in 2012. That was nothing new for them either, as original members of the Biosphere 2 sealed dome life-support for the experiment of the early 1990s.

Add it all up and these private space leaders could very well pull it off. We’ll find out more details on the plan next week.

Want to know more about the idea of a mission to Mars? Check this video:

[Photo Credit – Flickr user Amitabh T]