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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.
SpaceX has said that they could plan a mission to Mars in “10 years”, so it’s quite possible that Tito will be partnering with SpaceX to accomplish his mission.
The not for profit Mars One group could also play a hand in this trip as they could provide much needed media support as well as additional funding for the project. According to Mars One they are planning habitats as well as life support systems for Astronauts which would be a necessity for upcoming missions to the red planet.
From the Media Advisory:
The Inspiration Mars Foundation, a newly formed nonprofit organization led by American space traveler and entrepreneur Dennis Tito, invites you to attend a press conference detailing its plans to take advantage of a unique window of opportunity to launch an historic journey to Mars and back in 501 days, starting in January 2018.
This “Mission for America” will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It is intended to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation.
The Inspiration Mars Foundation is committed to accelerating America’s human exploration of space as a critical catalyst for future growth, national prosperity, new knowledge and global leadership.