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Wed Feb 27, 2013, 01:54 PM

Wanted: Married Couple for Private Mars Voyage in 2018

Source: Space.com

WASHINGTON A new nonprofit led by the world's first space tourist is mounting an ambitious plan to launch the first manned mission to Mars in 2018, a voyage that could include an adventurous married crew.

The project, led by American millionaire Dennis Tito who paid his own way to space in 2001 aims not to land people on the surface of the Red Planet, but to take advantage of a rare planetary alignment that would allow a relatively easy, quick flyby of Mars.

Tito announced the private Mars voyage plan today (Feb. 27) here at the National Press Club, where he held a press conference to launch his new organization, the Inspiration Mars Foundation, to back the mission.

Tito hopes to choose a space capsule and rocket from among those already on the market, and modify them to carry two people to Mars and back in 501 days.

Read more: http://www.space.com/19981-private-mars-mission-married-2018.html

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply Wanted: Married Couple for Private Mars Voyage in 2018 (Original post)
Bosonic Feb 2013 OP
guyton Feb 2013 #1
Auntie Bush Feb 2013 #2
Blue_Tires Feb 2013 #10
cleanhippie Feb 2013 #15
DesertRat Mar 2013 #35
Auntie Bush Mar 2013 #36
Romulus Quirinus Feb 2013 #8
lunasun Mar 2013 #29
bananas Feb 2013 #3
jimlup Feb 2013 #4
guyton Feb 2013 #7
jimlup Feb 2013 #12
Posteritatis Feb 2013 #16
jimlup Feb 2013 #20
jsr Feb 2013 #5
Nye Bevan Feb 2013 #6
RebelOne Feb 2013 #9
McCamy Taylor Feb 2013 #11
TupperHappy Feb 2013 #13
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #14
brooklynite Feb 2013 #17
Doctor_J Mar 2013 #24
Peace Patriot Feb 2013 #18
Neurotica Feb 2013 #22
muriel_volestrangler Mar 2013 #26
Retrograde Mar 2013 #33
Cobalt-60 Feb 2013 #19
davidthegnome Feb 2013 #21
Xithras Mar 2013 #31
Art_from_Ark Feb 2013 #23
Doctor_J Mar 2013 #25
gateley Mar 2013 #27
DesertRat Mar 2013 #34
lunasun Mar 2013 #28
muriel_volestrangler Mar 2013 #30
One_Life_To_Give Mar 2013 #32

Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 02:27 PM

1. um ... right

From the article:

the mission will need novel life support systems and radiation protection technology to keep the crew alive and healthy.


I want to hear more about this "novel" radiation protection technology he's dreaming about. It's not as simple as wrapping yourself in a few yards of super-duper-protector cloth.

So far the only solution I've heard of to the radiation problem is to send really old folks that don't have long to live anyway and don't mind raising their risks of cancer through the roof.

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Response to guyton (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 02:47 PM

2. Anyone who is inclined to commit suicide might want to volunteer. nt

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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:45 PM

10. FWIW, that's what was said when the space program first started...

when man first flew...
and when Columbus set sail...

I don't know how serious or legit this proposal is, though...Time will tell...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 06:32 PM

15. +1

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Response to Auntie Bush (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 01:42 PM

35. I'd be inclined to commit suicide

after being confined with my husband in outer space for so long...

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Response to DesertRat (Reply #35)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 10:54 PM

36. LOL

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Response to guyton (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:01 PM

8. High Denisty Polyethylene and water.

MAGIC.

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Response to guyton (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 09:48 AM

29. I would think at some certain age it may be a lure

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:04 PM

3. I watched the press conference - looks good. nt

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:06 PM

4. I've never understood why you don't just surround the living area in

H20 ... both the drinking and other water supply. It seems to me that it would block the radiation. Maybe not the really hard stuff but most of the soft stuff which would be the primary concern.

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Response to jimlup (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:36 PM

7. scale

I believe the problem is a matter of scale. The entire living space needs to be shielded, and the mass required for such a thing would make it extremely heavy ... hard to get to Mars or even to orbit. And so far there's no fuel depots or construction sites off-planet.

Of course, there's speculation we could make a lightweight shield out of something special (carbon nano fibers), but it's not particularly wise to count on revolutionary advances in technology when trying to plan a project

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Response to guyton (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:56 PM

12. So you preferentially shield some areas...

I guess I'm interested in the calculations. I'd like to see how far off the numbers are. I guess I could look at it myself. I'm sure that the date for interplanetary radiation profile is on the web.

I'd construct a special hardened area for sleeping and to stay in during a "storm" and then a lighter area for normal activities. I don't think carbon nanotubes would provide enough radiation protection. Certainly no more than carbon fiber itself.

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Response to jimlup (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 06:38 PM

16. A cubic metre of water weighs one ton

That adds up really quickly if you're surrounding even a fairly small volume, which runs up the mass of the vehicle, which runs up the energy needed to both send it on its way to Mars and get it into Earth orbit in the first place, etc. etc. etc.

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Response to Posteritatis (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 11:05 PM

20. Yeah but you've got to carry O2 and H2 anyway...

Just sayin'

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:08 PM

5. Well, no chance for cheating

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 03:24 PM

6. Piece of cake. A lunar gravity assist, 6 months in hypersleep,

and the Capcom Gary Sinise telling me and my wife when to push the buttons.

No problem at all.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:14 PM

9. I'd go, but I would have to find a husband who is willing to go to Mars

and maybe get back to Earth.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 04:48 PM

11. And they have to name their kid Valentine Michael Smith.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 05:32 PM

13. I grok that (nt)

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 06:30 PM

14. Imagine if the family name was Robinson?

Hopefully they won't get Lost in Space..

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 08:39 PM

17. My understanding is that the capsule is supposed to be REALLY small...

...could put a crimp in their sex life.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 09:09 AM

24. For those of us of a certain age

that's not a serious issue.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 09:49 PM

18. Wife could get pregnant and give birth in 501 days--it just occurred to me.

Other than that--piece a cake!

Ha-ha.

Really, though, will the married couple be required to be an infertile couple?

if it were MY project, I certainly wouldn't want to risk pregnancy/birth on such a perilous mission and I don't think there is any birth control that is 100% effective. So it would have to be a couple who had chosen infertility (done the surgery) or were naturally 100% infertile with no chance of surprises.

As to logistics and hazards, a whole lot of folks have done a whole of thinking and experimentation on extended space travel and I have considerable confidence that known problems can be solved by then. And if major logistics/hazards problems aren't solved by then, they wouldn't likely go--the mission would likely be postponed.

But "privatized" space missions--especially one of this magnitude (and danger)--do present several big problems, one of them being lack of public accountability. What if the private entity LIES to the astronauts--say, about the safety of the anti-radiation solution--and launches them with inadequate protection without telling them the truth? Though government secrecy is also a problem, there are mechanisms for requiring scientific fact and truth at NASA, and a particular history at NASA that has strengthened the whistleblowing culture. NASA has extensive experience with this--a private entity not so much (or at all) and a private entity would have lots of private motives to do such a thing--to cut corners, to lie, to withhold evidence, to risk their people unnecessarily, etc.

Also, what if these astronauts get into serious trouble at a point in their mission at which NASA intervention is possible? The pressure would be enormous to spend billions and billions of dollars to rescue them, if at all possible--and, kind of like the bankster bailout, "we the people" would likely foot the bill, without having had any say--ourselves, or through our representatives in government or through government science programs such as NASA, as to the design or desirability of this mission. We would be "stuck" with it, in other words--two human beings in trouble out there in space; how could we NOT try to rescue them, if rescue was even remotely possible? Even if NASA couldn't get to them, NASA and government decision-makers would be under tremendous pressure to throw all of NASA's resources into solving whatever life-threatening problems the mission has run into.

This is kind of like Monsanto or chemical corporations messing with our food supply--causing loss of biodiversity or bee die-off's--or the profiteers of the nuclear power industry pushing the dire cleanup, storage and disaster costs off on "we the people"--and other such instances (many--the biggest one being climate change) of private entities endangering us all, endangering the very web of life on Earth--and who is footing, and will foot, the bill? We let private entities run rampant--we let them LIE to us time and again--and then we pay for it, one way or another.

I AM ALL FOR SPACE TRAVEL. I think we should have had human beings on Mars long ago--and I think we SHOULD be pouring massive resources into space exploration, to develop revolutionary technologies (such as warp drive--NASA has a warp drive project but it is just getting started), to populate our own solar system and beyond. I really truly believe that this is our destiny and in addition believe that it would transform our society for the good. People who say, "Let's solve poverty first," or "let's solve war first," or "let's save our planet first," are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. Widen our society's perspective to the solar system and beyond and THEN people start organizing themselves with "big picture" goals and inspiration, and demand that government respond to ALL problems in this way: for the greater good.

Private entities still might have considerable roles to play in such a motivated, inspired society--but I think that this project may also be wrong way round. Human travel to Mars shouldn't be starting with a private entity that has little or no public accountability. They should be fitting into a bigger PUBLIC program that includes accountability as a requirement of participation.

Previous explorations (of our own planet)--as mentioned above--are interesting as precedents but they provide little guidance for us, now, in the 21st century, with all that has happened since--the development of democracy, the enormous, and exceedingly fast-paced advances in science, technology and communications, and, perhaps, most important of all, our new understanding of the sheet ENORMITY of the Universe. It is only since the late 1960s and that iconic photo of Earth from the Moon that most of us have begun to perceive our planet in its natural state as ONE--as indivisible, without borders, with no racial or national divides. It is only LATELY that we, as the conscious inhabitants of Earth, have begun to understand what that means--that a butterfly landing in China really does cause hurricanes a half a planet away in Nicaragua, and that our uses of fossil fuels and cattle are melting the polar ice caps.

NO earlier explorers had anything like this new and revolutionary perspective--brave as they might have been, visionary as they might have been. Those were baby steps compared to what we are thinking about NOW. We share their impulse to explore. It's in our DNA. And we can learn some things from them--for instance, what NOT to do if we discover off-planet life and off-planet conscious life (the Prime Directive of Star Trek, which was based on past horrors--genocide, slavery, ego-centric domination and interference, vast exploitation of peoples, vast damage to ecologies). But there the lessons end, and humanity's true place in the Universe begins. We are living through an entirely unprecedented era of astronomical understanding and technological development. We have no guides.

What are the hazards of a private entity taking such a huge step as this--sending human beings to circle Mars? i've mentioned a few--but really it baffles me. It also aggravates me that our government is so lacking in vision, and so egregiously corrupt, that even our vote counting has been privatized and put beyond public control. How can the best ideas "rise to the top" as they should be doing in a democracy, with so much pettiness and greed blockading our aspirations as a people?

This is the RESULT of so much pettiness, greed and corruption--that a mission that NASA should be leading devolves to a private billionaire. I have no ill feeling towards him or his team, and I wish them every success with all my heart. But I think it's wrong. It's not their fault that it's wrong. But it's wrong. We should not permit space travel to be a private game. Just as we learned that space projects must be, and are bound to be, international--that the U.S. has no proprietary right to space--we need to learn that private interests in space travel must be subjected to PUBLIC control and scrutiny and that this--the grandest human adventure of all--must be a PUBLIC project led by a PUBLIC agency for the common good--for the expansion of "the Commons" to the Universe. Space--that enormity--must be COMMON space, NOT private space.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #18)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:34 AM

22. Government agencies are too risk averse today to attempt something of this nature.

There is no way that today's NASA could accomplish this mission in the short timeframe necessary to take advantage of the 2018 launch window.

That being said, Inspiration Mars is not undertaking this venture by themselves. They are working with NASA in various ways on this mission and they have the support of NASA.

What's more, this is not a for-profit venture. It is philanthropic. The goal is to advance the next generation of space exploration.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 09:20 AM

26. When they say "middle-aged", they may well mean "post-menopausal" for the woman

His organisation, Inspiration Mars, is planning to select a middle-aged couple who may have already had children and would be willing to risk the potential risk to their fertility of being exposed to radiation for a prolonged period.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21603490


I would imagine, with that, if there was any doubt if the couple could still have children, they'd arrange for long term contraception or sterilisation/vastectomy, and even then carry RU-486 just in case.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 01:25 PM

33. They could pick a same-sex couple

two women, maybe, since in general women are smaller and sturdier than men.

2018 is a pretty tight schedule for this kind of mission. If we had the mindset of the 60s NASA and Congress, it might be doable. That doesn't mean there won't be people lining up to grab the opportunity.

BTW, I recommend Mary Roach's book Packing for Mars for a history of human space travel and possibilities for a Mars expedition.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 09:51 PM

19. Its a little optimistic - but the job can be done

It's a flyby, so they're spared carrying the mass of a lander.
Something similar was proposed in the 60s : propelling the USAF MORL on a flyby of Mars.
The minimum energy road to Mars is well known: 260 days each way. Plus an annoying wait of over a year while the planets mosied back into position for the trip back.
Von Braun's 1950s Mars Projects followed that path.
A little extra delta vee can save a lot of time on this journey, but its still several months each way.
Gravitation assists can be helpful. But to get there and back in the allotted time will take a lot of free delta Vee.
The job of transporting a couple to Mars for a flyby can certainly be done.
It's been within the United States' and Russia's capacities for decades.
I think it will take several Falcon Heavies and about 1000 days in space to actually accomplish this end.
To get it done right, they'll need to build a proper 21st century heavy lift rocket with 6 or 8 of the new generation of F-1 engines we've heard about.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 02:22 AM

21. Lets see how long it takes...

until someone - or some company, starts trying to sell land on Mars.....

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #21)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 01:06 PM

31. Already been done.

The Lunar Embassy people claimed ownership of Mars decades ago and have been selling plots of land on the surface. For only $20 an acre, you too can be a genuine Martian.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:41 PM

23. Just a word of advice--

Mars ain't the kind of place to raise a kid
In fact, it's cold as hell

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Response to Art_from_Ark (Reply #23)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 09:14 AM

25. Wait, this?



Includes an appearance by Karen Black with clothes on.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 09:21 AM

27. I volunteer Mitt and Anne.

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Response to gateley (Reply #27)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 01:36 PM

34. that would be marvelous

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 09:44 AM

28. Tito has been pushing this for a long time - appears he is serious! Wow

It has to take advantage of a rare planetary alignment that would allow a relatively easy, quick flyby of Mars.

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 12:52 PM

30. A couple that spent 270 days in Antarctica on their own:

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Response to Bosonic (Original post)

Fri Mar 1, 2013, 01:22 PM

32. Wanted: Wife, for trip of a lifetime. nt

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