Humans on Mars by 2018?

The Inspiration Mars Foundation hopes to get a two-person crew to Mars and back starting in 2018 — and it's got a plan that can work.

(Screenshot by CNET Australia)

Founded by wealthy "space tourist" Dennis Tito, the Inspiration Mars Foundation now has plans to launch a two-man crew on a round trip to Mars and back — a 501-day round trip that it hopes to have underway by January 2018.

Wired noted that while the plan is ambitious, it's not insane: the ship wouldn't land on Mars, in fact, it wouldn't even orbit. It would pass a few hundred kilometres above Mars before returning. It would still be an immense achievement, and one far beyond anything that a private space travel company has accomplished to date, but it does seem to be achievable.

Jane Poynter, president of the Paragon Space Development Corporation, who has partnered with the Foundation to build life support for this mission, told Wired:

The reason this entire thing is possible is because it's actually a very simple mission. We're not trying to land; we're going to fly by, and we're using extant technologies that NASA and the space industry have been developing for years.

The current plan calls for a "fast free-return trajectory": the spacecraft would have a single burn from Earth to get it on its way to Mars, then circle the planet and use Martian gravity to "slingshot" its way back to Earth.

This technique would minimise both travel time and fuel, but it does mean that the heat is on for Inspiration Mars Foundation — because the distance between Mars and Earth changes as we orbit the sun, the opportunity for a "quick flight" only comes every 15 or so years. If they miss 2018, it'll be 2031 before they can try again.

The Wired article has a very extensive look at the Mars Mission, including the myriad dangers involved. The Mars Inspiration Foundation also has a detailed fact sheet of its plans that's worth reading.

About the author
6 comments

Latest comments (Add your comment)

that's if you don't get killed by constant solar winds, the rapid temperature fluctuations or if your CO2 to oxygen converter breaks
Posted by MitchellT
Reply
My concern is this, do we really want to have Interplanetary travel from class M planets? I'm talking about Microbes, and other bacterial and viral infestations, and life forms. We have enough trouble containing the damage that these life forms present us with now, can we afford more collateral damages in the name of exploration and colonization. With the health care issues in the world now, whose going to be responsible for managing, what might hitchike to earth.
Posted by AndrewJ5
Reply
Ah but that's easy - currently there is no life anywhere else in the universe ;)
Posted by StanleyC
Reply
The odds of us encountering microbial life on another planet that will infect a human and have a detremental health impact are astronomically small, no matter what H G Wells might tell you. The reality is that the vast majority of bacteria and viruses on THIS planet represent no issue for us and they have evolved in an environment that contains both us an other animals very much like us.

Plus, you are making the assumption that there is or was ever microbial life on Mars, but there is still no evidence for that. Not saying we won't find it, but its still just a hypothesis at this stage
Posted by trebor83
Reply
The odds of us encountering microbial life on another planet that will infect a human and have a detremental health impact are astronomically small, no matter what H G Wells might tell you. The reality is that the vast majority of bacteria and viruses on THIS planet represent no issue for us and they have evolved in an environment that contains both us an other animals very much like us.

Plus, you are making the assumption that there is or was ever microbial life on Mars, but there is still no evidence for that. Not saying we won't find it, but its still just a hypothesis at this stage
Posted by trebor83
Reply

Join the conversation

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.