The world’s first space tourist, Dennis Tito is planning to launch a manned mission to Mars in January 2018 on a round-trip journey lasting 501 days.
Tito, who paid about $20 million to visit the International Space Station in 2001, has founded a new nonprofit company called the Inspiration Mars Foundation. The manned mission is intended to “generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration,” according to a press briefing posted by NASA Watch, a website dedicated to space news, on Feb. 20.
The company will hold a press conference on Feb. 27 to provide details of the mission and answer any questions, of which there are numerous. In particular, how the mission intends to keep its participants safe and healthy during the journey will be a key issue.
In attendance at the conference will be Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter of the Paragon Space Development Corporation, which creates life-support systems for space and other environments. MacCullum and Poynter were members of the Biosphere-2 project that attempted to build a completely isolated environment inside a giant structure in the 1990s (an experiment that had mixed success). The briefing also mentions Jonathan Clark, a medical researcher at the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, who will probably address the dangers from potentially lethal radiation to humans in deep space.