By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
Will the Mars rover Curiosity catch a glimpse of a manned spaceship in this decade? That could be even more exciting than the gray powder it found by drilling.
A nonprofit organization called the Inspiration Mars Foundation is hosting a press conference next week in which plans for a trip to Mars and back will be revealed. The proposed launch date is January 2018, and the venture is called "Mission for America."
The press release doesn't explicitly state that the mission is manned, but it does say that the organization "is committed to accelerating America's human exploration of space as a critical catalyst for future growth, national prosperity, new knowledge and global leadership."
The leader of this effort is millionaire Dennis Tito, who's no stranger to space travel. He spent $20 million to jaunt up to the International Space Station in 2001, making him the first private space traveler.
Tito wasn't an especially young space voyager then; he was 60 when he visited the space station. The entrepreneur used to work for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the early 1960s, charting flight paths for Mariner probes built to orbit Mars.
His organization's new idea is to get to Mars and back in 501 days. The official description is as follows:
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.
There's no word yet on where the money will come from, or how the potential space traveler(s) would survive the journey.
We will learn more about this plan at a press conference planned for Wednesday at the National Press Club.
More: What we've done on Mars, and what's next
This is a scam. Mission to Mars? Go to the moon first. Yeah, you heard me. Don't get me started on that whole fake moon landing in the 60s.
Great, now the USA will think they own Mars too.
Wow, just think, by January 2018, we will have cured hunger, welfare fraud, everyone will have a place to live and a job working on the Mars project. Oh, and don't forget global warming...just think of all the food we can bring back, and all the Martian water we can drink, and another planet to ruin.
It's not hard to get humans to Mars ... it's hard to get them back (because Mars' gravity is much stronger than our Moon's). I wonder ... if anyone would volunteer for a one-way trip?
More power to them, but seriously.... If NASA started today, they could not meet a 2018 deadline.
People compare this to Columbus, but Columbus would have perished if the Americas weren't in the way of his attempted voyage to the Orient and if he had no means to turn around and head home until after he reached his target. Even at the very short period for an Earth-Mars round trip of around 500 days, you have to have redundant space ships: it would be amazing for one ship and landing craft making it there and back without a mishap. So you need two or three ships. You also have to overcome the problem of cosmic rays, which even with the protection of Earth's magnetic field have caused vision episodes in astronauts. And you need a year and a half's supply of oxygen, food, and fuel – not one week's worth for a trip to the Moon. Remember that the Moon seems distant at 0.240 million miles away. Mars is 50 million miles away at its CLOSEST to Earth – over 200 times farther than the Moon. So if we want to talk in terms of Columbus, instead of having to sail from Spain to the Caribbean and back, this would be like Columbus having to circle the Earth FOUR TIMES – with ALL necessities on board from the beginning.
And what will the travelers do once they get to Mars?
If they're tea party patriots they'll build a trailer park and a nascar track.
Someday we will be able to exile all birthers, teabaggers, and assorted Sarah Palin loving trailer trash to a detention colony on Mars. They will be allowed to keep their assault weapons so that they can blow their own brains out while drinking Everclear from mason jars.
awsome can i go ? even if its a one way trip ill go!!!
I see the biggest technical obstacle to a Mars mission with a human crew to be systems reliability. All of the critical equipment has to function reliably for about two years without any significant breakdowns or the crew is dead.
Mars is roughly 100 times farther away than the moon. Missions to the moon took approximately two weeks. Missions to Mars will take one to two years. If something goes wrong, even just a few days or a month out, it won't be possible to safely get right back.
A comparative example was the Apollo 13 mission to the moon. When the life support systems in the Command Module failed, the spacecraft looped around the moon and was home in about three days. The crew survived, but just barely. But if you have an Apollo 13 type of accident on a Mars mission the crew will likely end up dead.
Complex machinery is often subject to breaking down and there is no repair shop in deep space. No place to pick up spare parts. You are stuck and have to totally rely with what you left home with. One significant equipment failure that the crew can't correct on their own and they are dead.
I love how people say its a waste of money. It shows how ignorant they are.
Take the moon landing, for example. Was it a waste of money? The impact it had on our culture and the innovations that it created are priceless.
It is because of space technology that we have miniaturization. And miniaturization led to microminiaturization. And microminiaturization led to subminiaturization.. Your smartphones, tablets, laptop/desktop computers, and flat screen TVs are all possible because of our efforts in space exploration.
The need to go to the moon forced scientists to create new types of rubber that were resistant to extreme heat and cold, new alloys that were lighter and more durable, ceramics that were unbreakable, and plastics that wouldn't melt or disintegrate when subjected to heat. And then your conventional industries applied these new technologies to their businesses and we all reaped the commerical benefits from that.
You would be amazed on how many things that you benefit from, that make life easier and more enjoyable, are due to space technology.
Good points: but you are missing one huge side of the equation. The mission to the moon was 100% funded by the US Government, i.e. it's space & aeronautics agency, NASA. They (back in the day) had billions and billions (apologies to Carl Sagan!) of dollars at their disposal. Whatever Werner Von Braun and his teams needed, NASA readily provided.
Hard to say how successful a private initiative would be on a threadbare budget.
Seriously, it's just another pipe dream. Yes, it is a private initiative, I'm aware of that. But how in hell or heaven's name are they going to raise the 100s of billions of dollars needed to successfully fund such a venture???
Even if the Warren Buffett's and Bill Gates' put up sizable chunks of their fortunes, they would still fall, far short. And no self-respecting corporation is going to bet on this venture even if several patents and new tech come out of it.
The odds of success are too tiny. The odds for mis-management of funds, even corruption are too great.... I hate to say it, but only a superpower government and/or a collaboration of the superpower and other allied governments could undertake such a massive, gargantuan endeavor.
Private money? if no NASA, whose gonna train the astronauts?
I would advice to pick tom hanks. he already has experience.
The Chinese will be the first to Mars.
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Wow, bloggers will turn ANY articlie into a political debate...in that case..... I think we SHOULD explore Mars as a possible new home, since we'll need one after greed kills THIS planet (OIL! )...and we all know which party the selfish and greedy align with.
Obama can be pilot and Hillary can be co-pilot, please.
What a joke!
I can't afford to drive cross country at these gas prices and we're talking about going to Mars?
Your not going anywhere America except maybe to a bankruptcy hearing.
China will rule the Earth and near planets for the next 200 years.
Americans go back to eating yourselves to death and watching your Kardashian TV.
Your Congress has guaranteed that your best days are behind you!
STUPID PHAT AMERICANS. YOU WILL BOW TO YOUR CHINESE MASTERS!
You remind me of an old UPS commercial.......what can brown do for you?? brown can't even think for itself.......
20 million to go to space for one man you know how much cancer research that could fund or how many starving children that can feed no one man has to fulfill his selfish desires.
How many starving children are your selfish desires responsible for?
its time to stop fighting and start dreaming together to get things done or should we turn this ship around and go back home. live long and prosper?
The human race has not matured and evolved to the next level of civilization..yet. That level is to put differences aside such as race, nationality, religion and ethinicty and to work together for the sake of human exploration and human colonization. When WE can reach that level and put ALL of our resources into space exploration, then I think WE can achieved so much more for mankind and OUR children's future. Until then we continue to wage war over resources when we should work together to get more resources.
now what is the purpose of going to mars? waste of time and money if you ask me.
Until mankind will stop thinking all about MONEY there will be no such thing as exploring the Mars and the Universe for the population.
We should be working on new proplulsion engine,principle as Dr Von Bruan predicted years ago.
All we can see it is a trip for billionnaires,,,
They will not have nearly enough money to come close to doing this! it will take close to a trillion dollars to seriously even think about doing this and i can't see billionaires giving enough money up to do this,especially when they will never make money off of it,and the technology is nowhere close to ready for anybody to do this.look at the fuel alone.how are we gonna get enough fuel to get there? what about the astronauts? it will take at least 3 years to get there and back,they will either die or go insane after 6 years in space.they should put a base on the moon,and then start thinking about mars!
I'd like to think that this is yet another debate between young and old with the oldsters arguing "We need to balance the budget, austerity is good" and youngsters arguing "The human journey has just begun. Just because your massive cohort's time is running out doesn't mean humanity can turn its back on the riddles of our universe"
That sort of assumes that the Gen X and Y are similar - which they aren't, because Gen X grew up on creative technology of discovery (early PC era) while Gen Y grew up in the "technology=toys" era.
I'd be willing to wager that most of the pro-Mars crowd are late-30s and early 40s guys like myself, who are little bit scared about what we'll see happen to our country over the coming decades.
Can America get its groove back? I sure hope so.
until I looked at the bank draft which was of $7773, I accept that...my... neighbours mother was truly bringing home money part time on their computer.. there friend brother haz done this less than twenty three months and just now repayed the loans on there cottage and purchased a great new Lancia. I went here, ...... BIT40.ℂOℳ
as the place well be called marden,.pnm,.
SCAM/ Obama shut down space programs in the name of globalists to shut down civil progress. Like many of his acts. The "billionairs" are just throwing up false dreams so we start to have this "hope" and dependence on them, like their other products. Welcom to scientific progress of the new world order.
Whats all this MARS talk? What we need to do is to invade Iran! we need more battle tanks and battle ships! We need to frack more for cheap gasoline. 99cents is the only price for us!
If they're telling us that they plan on a manned mission to mars five years from now, that means we already established a base there 20 years ago, according to the NSA and need-to-know laws. But keep your head in the sand, it's good for business.
Mission control we have an absolute failed 50,000.00 toilet, requesting permission to return home. I gots to takes a dump.
Oh yes, because we haven't wasted enough money yet on things that don't make life better on earth.
The right kind of leadership that President Obama lacks
They never solved zero G the bone loss and muscle loss problems...so that by the time that astronauts get to Mars...they'll be just like jelly fish and essentially useless...I mean do you know what state the international space station astronauts are in when they come back to earth...they need immediate medical attention upon landing and it takes months for them to recover. So how exactly are they going to explore that brave new planet in that state.
any news of this nature is good news to me. However would it not be prudent to concentrate resources on some sort of moon base with the intent to colonize?
That whole touchdown thing seems a little risky- 7 seconds of terror, etc. No practical way to land much weight there safely and consistently. 5- years. Uhhh. Not likely.
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The only way I can see something like this 'flying' so to speak is to have it operate as some sort of commercial venture, a little like the mining ventures talked about with regards to the moon from time to time. Of course that opens up a whole different kettle of fish.
what is so important about mars when our own country is falling apart
Reblogged this on Serendipitous Beginnings and commented:
Star Trek is almost here, folks...
I’ve just read an article about a man living for 11 years in a coffin sized big city ‘apartment’ in which he could sit-up but not stand. Most than probable, he slept and rested in that thing, but surely spent at least half of the day out of it to work, walk, shop, etc. So, with an additional – even temporary – space for exercising, it could be doable for these 501 days. Even a single person could do it; a second one is only needed for assistance in case of biological malfunction.
On the other hand, a technological malfunction is much more probable!
I've always said that private space travel will be the best way to get to where you want to go in the future of space travel. There are huge profits to be gained once the corporations get up there and start making money. Next step for the human race.
I think it is noble or worthy that a few billionares and dot.com millionares want to send a mission to Mars, however, I think it is going to take a nation not a few individuals to make a mission to Mars....just like with the NASA mission to the moon.
Considering that no Mars capable and man-rated spacecraft. and all of the related equipment needed, exists or is even being made, it is a bit of a stretch to think humans will go to Mars in only 5 years. Bits and pieces exist, but the integrated systems needed do not.
To me this guy is just showboating and could not do it in 5 years if his life depended on it. First they need to determine if there is water there. Second the only reasonable way is to build the ship in space. That way one could be built big enough for people to live on. Third a return vehicle would be needed to land and return to the ship. Last but not least the infrastructure is not in place to do this and it would take 10 years or more to make it happen. Fly around, maybe, land, never.
Cut the expense of a trip to Mars in half by making it a one-way trip. You would still have no shortage of astronauts who would be willing to make the trip
I think many people here are a little impatient and not pratical. We would all love to go to Mars tomorrow, however, the truth of the matter is that interplentary or intergalantic space travel may be decades or hundreds or years in the future. It is going to take lots of research and plenty off $$$$$.
Given that government projects for NASA (g-force, solar shields) let to private industry selling "memory foam" and "transitions sunglasses", amongst plenty of other goodies, government has always been involved in helping the "free market". So it's just more than taxpayer-funded subsidies...
It cost him $20 million to go to the space station – as a hitchhiker. There is no way he and all his friends together can pay for a mission to mars. It would cost literally billions, and would probably result in their deaths.
The sky is falling the sky is falling! Dragon already docks with Space Station. They are not crazy, this will happen.
are passengers on a train or airlines hitchhikers? or when some rents a car? I think not. He paid 20mill which paid for the whole thing or darn close to it.
Not likely. We are bumming rides the the space station from Russia. Until we get our finaces in order and can afford to fully fund NASA and build a vehicle capable of going to Mars, we are going nowhere. I don't see this happening in the next 10 yrs...maybe 20.
This article isn't about "we". It's about a PRIVATE COMPANY trying to get to Mars.
i don't think any private company is going to be abel to cough up the many of billions required to fund a mission to Mars especially since there is no commercial payoff. How are they going to raise that kind of money, sell advertise space? I think this is pie in the sky.
Since my query has been deleted twice because evidently it strikes a chord with the upper echelons at NASA, I will post one more time....
Will NASA use the same Nevada butte they used for the fraudulent lunar landings and simply change the hues for a fake Mars landing?
The moon landing was real. It's the world you live in that's fake.
Thank you. Moon Hoaxers drive me crazy.
The flat earth society is calling you...hopefully collect. You conspiracy nuts never fail to amaze me. I suppose the Columbia and Challenger disasters were all elaborate fakes also.
For every step we move forward there will be slackers asking to catch up. If we choose to catch them up we would never advance, since slacking is a trait of human.
Should the government be spending money to explore space, when it is spending money it does not have?
First, this mission is funded by private money, not NASA’s. Secondly, every dollar that has been spent by NASA has brought back $2 to the US economy. So should they spend? YES!!!!!
What does your question have to do with the article? HINT: Nothing.
Wow, look at all the stupid on here. Its amazing that some of you can logon to your computers.
I agree that our government is disfunctional that means malinvestment not lack of forethought on NASA's part. I truly believe that that the U.S needs to invest more in R and D that NASA is one such vehicle to spur future innovations in STEM fields. I disagree that the government is solely to blame, however, private businesses even give much credit to NASA for out which none of their grand ideas would not have grown fruit.
Another "pie in the sky" pipe dream disguised as science. It promises to be just as "successful" as the SETI project has been - gobbling up lots of mony and what have they discovered? Zilch! When I was a kid in the early 60's scientists were projecting multiple space stations by the year 2000 which produce their own gravity like in Star Trek (remember, they resembled big wheels). And here in 2013 we have a single space station just barely out of earth orbit and they have a very hard time keeping it repaired and manned! Oh, forget the artificial gravity - those who stay for an extended time on the intenational space station suffer serious muscle and bone degeneration to the point that they can barely walk when they land back on earth. And the international space station benefits from a lot of protection from solar storms via our earth atmosphere. Now NASA knows that it was playing Russian roulette taking the puddle jump to our moon (approx. 3 days). If there had been a solar storm or eruption in our direction they would have been fried. Now send space explorers out to Mars on a one way 6-9 month trip in open space - that makes Russian roulette look like a safe past time.
I know I will get blasted by many of you for doubting all-powerful, boundless science - but get back to me in 2018 and have the honesty to admit that this was yet another example of man's vainglory on display.
SETI gobbles up $$??? SETI runs for a year on the money it takes to build just one of your attack helicopters, helicopters that seem to crash daily and nobody seems to care. Discovery money is zilch while money to blow people up is endless. Let’s spend money on something positive for a change instead of destructive, short sighted and ultimately stupid.
the reason we aren't as advanced as we dreamed is cause mismanagement of funds(NOT BY NASA). instead of putting money in advancing our spaceflight, we have been putting into our military weapons. For the past 30 yrs we've relied solely on the shuttles for our manned space flight, why ? NASA wasn't funded well enough to develop anything new. why was that ? it was better to a stealth bombers and fighters then to a better space vehicle, it was better to invade Iraq for imagined WMds then to have a better space vehicle. but this really doesn't matter cause this article isn't about our government going to mars it's about a private company making the trip. oh yea if you supported the wars you are at fault.
I think you are trying to agree with me....
It's because of people like you that we don't have multiple space stations, permanent bases on the Moon, and manned missions to Mars.
So now it's my fault for torpedoing the space programm by refusing to be brainwashed by an illusion and just pointing to the scientific facts? Get back to me in 2018 and you'll probably blame me because no humans have traveled to Mars, there is still no space station on the moon, Vulcans with pointed ears haven't been discovered and the "real" Darth Vader hasn't made an appearance on earth. Grow up and address the really important questions in life, like, whether we are the product of a cosmic accident - or, if this is no accident then what is purpose in our existence!
No drop of water blames itself for the flood.
Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact it's cold as hell.
I wanna go. Where do I sign up
The government is disfunctional, which is WHY our space industry hasn't already taken us to Mars and beyond. Those of us dedicated to science and engineering know we've solved the problems of the past, and fuel the discovery of the future. How ironic it is, that those who can't understand science and engineering, would preach to those of us who do.
Yeah sure I too are a rocket scientist, related to Einstein, except it's not clear if it's Al or Bagles.
...this will not happen by 2018...fuel, the spacecraft engineering and construction and testing, food, water, life support systems, astronaut training and prep, maybe 2030, maybe by China, but not 2018...sorry folks, this is reality not star wars CGI
A Mars mission could have launched in the early 1980s if Tricky Dick hadn't chosen the Shuttle Program instead.
Tea Party Patriots believe that if man was meant to go to Mars god wouldn't have given us lungs.
You got me laughing so hard I pharted out a tax-n-spend Democrat.
Did you mess your pants again?
Naah, it was just smelly hot air
In case no one's noticed, we're broke. We have a president and congress that's turned what used to be an economic and technological power house into a welfare state and 3rd rate loser. The only way we'll ever get to Mars is to hitch a ride on a Russian or (in the near future) a Chinese rocket, the same thing we now have to do to get to the international space station. From the 1st nation to land a man on the moon we've come to this ....
Who's "we"? This article is about a private company trying to raise funding to get to Mars. You have nothing to do with it.
you mean we had a president, the current one is trying to fix what the last one F'd up
well I think we should abandon the space program
because the humans can't live like a civilized society here in this fck planet
so spread our model to be around the Universe it will be tragedy..!!
Okay. You stay here and stick your head in the sand, and the rest of us will advance our society
I think it will teach us how to live in peace with each other for our lives would depend each other. it might be the only way we don't wipe ourselves out
Will NASA use the same Nevada butte they used for the fake lunar landings in order to fake Mars and just change the hues to red?
cool story bro
Did you eat a lot of paint chips when you were a kid?
People sure do like to write stuff before they read the article.
This will never happen if Obamalooney decides to proclaim HIMSELF King of América!
If the medifore applies that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then does that mean that humans are gay? If so that I'm all onboard with the idea of going to Mars! Corny jokes a past time in America especially in my head!
Good..another planet to screw up.
$20 million is peanuts compared to what it would cost him to go to mars.
There's no need to goto Mars; I've already been there. That's why there is no life.
Bruce Lee called. He said he kicked you a$$ without even working up a sweat. He said it was so easy to kick your a$$ that his feet got bored.
His feet must really be bored now then... You know, being dead and all.
Waste of money! There are millions of lazy white and black trash who need welfare and food stamps! Spend out money on handouts!
I can't believe somebody would think NASA is a waste of money. The same agency that brought us 1500 patents, encouraged education in STEM fields and careers, facilitated foreign policy and countless other things. NASA isn't even a percent of the government, yet you conservatives demonize that and foreign aid just pathetic.
Remember how in the movie Total Recall that chick on Mars had 3 bubes? That's why they're going.
I like how you said bubbbes. Just like the middle schoolers out of south park.
I hope my great grandchildren will be around for the first war between earthlings and our martian brothers.
already volunteered to go oneway. cheaper trip. money? Money is nothing more than a construct. Something we value and need to live in this construct society. The way most people are thinking. Money will shortly mean nothing anyway. It will all be about survival. Fancy house, fancy car, fancy clothes, Nannies, butlers manservants, will soon mean nothing. Boy people sure have de-volved since I have been alive, 99.99 percent of these post sound completely retarted and counter-productive. And I know people like the nice stuff. but really. You rely on PVT enterprise to do it all, all the benefits will be for pvt enterprise and no others. You all will be wanting to trade in your trophy girl friends for a fat plump russian woman with winter fat to make it through the nuclear winters.
"99.99 percent of these post sound completely retarted "...oh yeah, and your own post is F'in brilliant, you "retart".
good. a little late, but finally. humans should have set foot on mars back in the 80's. weve had the tech, just not enough money or will. I cannot wait for the day when us humans become a multi planet race. that will open up a whole new frontier for us.
We had the technology in the 80's? We did not even have all the radiation measurements then, let alone the technology to build the proper light weight shields. We had a ship that carried three men, and a low Earth Orbiter. We still have not proven that we can land supplies year after year, and we have no proven system that take off from Mars for a return mission. We can develope that, and I am sure we will. But we did not have all the pieces in the 80's and do not have them today either.
A 501 day round trip, doesn't really leave any time for a landing.
Are they planning a brief landing? Or is this like an Apollo 8 orbit-and-return mission?
This is one of those ego things. Go there just to say we did? Makes no sense. You can't live there. It would be just like going to the Moon to live. What's the point. The only advantage there might be would be that a new propulsion system is invented that we could use here on earth. So, why not just invent one and use it. Why go to Mars? The fact is that eventually Earth will be no longer habitable. It will burn out just as Mars did. Humans would have to find a new place to inhabit and we would need a Noah's Ark type craft to do that. This is the only (unspoken) reason to go anywhere.
well true we cant live there now, but in theory we can build an atmosphere. the fact is, it is a human trait to want to know things. to explore the unknown. and fact 2 the earth cannot sustain this big of a population forever. one day were gonna need more room, minerals, and everything else we remove from this planet. therefore the only answer is to get more real estate.
every journey begins with the first step.
The more we push out the more we learn. We cant go from moon landing to an ark in space without the steps inbetween.
The whole thing suggests that the mission either has access to a nonexistant super-rocket to get everything up at once, or intends to build the rocket in space with multiple launches. The ISS took over a hundred billion dollars and more than a dozen launches to pull off. A single Mars mission, even if one way, it bound to have a similar price tag. 20 million for a Soyuz ride is one thing, I can see a millionaire willing to pay for that. 100 billion? No chance, not this decade.
Maybe in 40-70 years once Commercial Space Flight has advanced enough and brought the costs down.
No funding for the program now but in just 5 years it's blastoff to Mars? If it actually happens, it won't be manned.
This is a private company, not NASA.
*Sigh* When will reporters learn to ignore the publicity stunts? NASA went to the moon by planning for ten years and spending 4% of the national GDP during that time. In other words, spending huge cash and with the pedal to the metal, it took ten years.
They built the biggest rocket in history to get there. They took huge numbers of engineers and scientists to build it.
The Mars rocket would have to be MUCH bigger than that, even for a fuel-saving 18-month trip. In 501 days? That rocket would be the size of a small city. In other words, it will never exist. Especially if he says it's going to be ready in five years.
This guy might as well say, "I'm rich, so I'm going to jump off the Empire State Building to Mars." It makes that much sense.
Shame on CNN for reporting the story, without adding ANY analysis.
Typical Mars-mission plans with current technology have round-trip times of 400 to 450 days.
NASA invented the necessary rockets, spacecraft, engines, life support, communications systems, and spacesuits in 8 1/2 years because it had to. They did not exist in 1961.
Today they do exist, or very nearly exist. SpaceX's unmanned Dragon has already flown three times, and the manned version could fly as early as 2015 (if sequestration does not cut the budget, which it probably will) three years before the Mars mission departs. SpaceX claims that Dragon's heat shield is already sufficient for re-entering at deep space return velocity. The most likely launch vehicle is the Falcon Heavy, which can launch over 115,000 lbs into Earth orbit at a cost of about $120 million. It is scheduled for first flight later this year. Two or three Falcon Heavies can launch a similar mass as a single Apollo Saturn V, and will still cost less than the $1 billion per launch Saturn V. Remember, this proposed Mars mission does not need to be as gigantic as plans in the past, because this mission is only a Mars flyby: it will not brake into Mars orbit (expensive in fuel) or land on Mars (requiring a very expensive Mars lander and return vehicle.) A Mars mission launched in January 2018 will naturally return to Earth ("free return") in May 2019.
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July 19thAtlas V launch of US DOD MUOS-2 satellite, notable for large "551" config of Atlas
Aug 3rdJapanese HTV-4 flight to ISS on cargo supply mission
Aug 14thSpaceX launch of Canadian satellite in the first launch from their new Vandenberg facility, and first launch of upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle
Aug 28thDelta IV Heavy launch of NROL-65 spy satellite
SeptemberSoyuz TMA-08M flight returning Expedition 36 crew from ISS to Earth (Kazakhstan)
Sept 12thOrbital Sciences maiden flight of Cygnus cargo vehicle on Antares rocket to ISS
Sept 25thSoyuz TMA-10M flight launching Expedition 38 crew to ISS
Dec 9thSpaceX Dragon launch by Falcon 9 v1.1 on CRS-3 cargo supply mission to ISS
recurringfirst powered test flights of Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo commercial vehicle, to be used by Virgin Galactic for sub-orbital tourism