February 27th, 2013
02:50 PM ET

Group aims to send 2 humans on Mars mission in 2018

Follow @CNNLightYears on Twitter for more space and science updates.

By John Zarrella, CNN

If newly unveiled plans pan out, a man and a woman may represent humanity on one journey that has never been attempted before: a mission to Mars.

“It’s incredibly feasible. It’s not crazy talk," Taber MacCallum, CEO of Paragon Space Development Corp., told CNN.

MacCallum and millionaire Dennis Tito announced their plans Wednesday to send a couple of earthlings on a 501-day trip in a spacecraft that would fly by the red planet. The proposal was unveiled at the National Press Club in Washington.

The mission would lift off in 2018, they said. It would not involve landing on Mars, making the proposed journey infinitely easier than putting people on the planet's surface, which NASA wants to do later this century. But the spacecraft would pass within 100 miles of the planet.

Tito has founded the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a nonprofit organization spearheading this effort. No stranger to space, the one-time NASA engineer became in 2001 the first space tourist flying on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station.

The public-private initiative could, according to MacCallum, use an existing rocket and capsule.

“If you take existing chemistry and technology and add some improved technologies," MacCallum told CNN, "you can get a mission together.” A life support system also would have to be developed.

The group is not asking NASA for money, he said.

“This is a philanthropic effort to be done for America,” MacCallum said. It could be accomplished for under $1 billion, he said, a figure that’s cheap compared with the tens of billions of dollars a NASA landing on Mars would cost.

At Wednesday's press conference, the panel mentioned selling media rights and finding sponsorship as well as other forms of fund-raising. It was noted that a 6-year-old boy already made a contribution, sending in $10 and calling this mission "my Apollo."

Despite MacCallum’s optimism, pulling off such a feat within five years is no small task.

Besides life support for the crew, one of the biggest challenges would be the return into the Earth's atmosphere. Heat shielding for a high speed re-entry hasn’t been tested. NASA isn’t even testing its new system on the Orion spacecraft until next year at the earliest. Orion is in development to take astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars.

And there’s also concern about radiation exposure. The man and woman whom MacCallum and Tito want to send would likely be a married couple. Because of the radiation risk, MacCallum said, they’d be older and “out of the childbearing years.”

Dr. Jonathan Clark, a former NASA flight surgeon and chief medical officer of Inspiration Mars
Foundation, said the crew should be selected six months to a year before the mission to allow time for a full health screening. And the mission planners will have to prepare for the possibility of a crew member perishing.

"If we wanted a guarantee, we wouldn't be doing this," he said.

Water and oxygen will be recycled in flight, so the crew will be drinking and breathing the same resources over and over throughout the journey, Inspiration Mars representatives said.

"No two people will have ever been more alone than the crew of this mission," Miles O'Brien, press conference moderator and former CNN correspondent, said at the event.

The year for the mission was chosen because Mars then will be 36 million miles away, about as close as it ever gets to Earth.

But consider: The humans who have traveled the farthest from Earth were the Apollo astronauts - nearly a quarter-million miles to the moon. Next to the Mars journey, that’s like a walk around the block.

Still, Tito said Wednesday, "This is a challenging but attainable goal for advancing human ... knowledge. Now is the time."

More: What we've done on Mars, and what's next

CNN's Sophia Dengo contributed to this report.

Post by:
Filed under: Mars • News • the Moon
soundoff (842 Responses)
  1. John Cleary

    Imagine if one of them died a week into the journey? Imagine being the one who was still alive...

    February 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • nah

      They'll give them suicide pills, guaranteed. It would be inhumane to NOT give them those. Imagine if neither died, but the craft lost the ability to navigate. They would just drift off into infinity. You'd really have no choice but to suicide after a while. Better than starving to death.

      February 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  2. Nope!

    501 days with the same woman and no break, there isn't enough money real or otherwise.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  3. Cal Newlan

    We should erect a large cross on Mars to honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Aletheya

      Sorry, that kind of crap gets left behind on Earth. Mars will be a No Religion Zone. Why repeat our mistakes on other worlds?

      February 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
      • Cal Newlan

        Jesus loves you.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
      • LiberaLIowan

        One can only hope.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  4. meathead

    This is the perfect reality show. 24/7 in space with your spouse and no way to dial 911. This is perfect reality TV programming. Reminds me of the Truman Show. Sign me up.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • carlc

      You actually bring up a good point. A large chunk of the mission cost can be covered with advertisements and broadcast rights for aspects like crew selection, the actual mission, etc.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  5. chemez

    no guns allowed on board though!!! because that would just result in one thing .......

    February 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  6. Andy

    Can I just send my wife on the trip so I can get some peace and quiet around here............then make a left turn at Mars and head to another galaxy

    February 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  7. Terry in Florida

    Let's be honest: who gives a rat's @$$. We all know the only couple to be picked will be some celebrity/super rich divas that will get a divorce 2 years after returning. If they do. They won't have decades of training, probably 0 work ethic and hailed as heroes.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  8. Elvis

    MAY THE SCHWARTZ BE WITH YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

    February 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  9. Aletheya

    The biggest downside I can see is, after going on the trip and spending 500+ days in a tin can, they'll just zip by and come home again, no chance to touch Mars, explore, savor being the first on the Red Planet. I'm not sure I could bear that. Not the trip itself, just being so close but then coming straight back. I'm not sure I really see the point either. I'm a huge fan of the space program and hope we can put some astronauts on Mars within my lifetime, but what exactly would this trip accomplish? They wouldn't be doing any science that couldn't be done at least as well by probes. Technology test seems dubious, no need to actually go on the trip to do that. I guess if it excites imaginations enough to help revitalize the space program, then it would be worthwhile.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • johnnybegood

      U've never learned the value of a dollar! This is a salesman talking here that is going to extract many dollars from idiots such as urself and end up keeping the money...nobody goes anywhere!

      February 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • Aletheya

        Salesman. That explains it. Used cars?

        February 27, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • yeah

      Yeah, it would suck to be so close and not land. But to be the first to ever go there and look upon it with your own eyes would be incredible. I might be up for it if I didn't have young kids.

      February 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • carlc

      Would a flyby with no landing be a bit of a letdown? Of course. Still, the mission would establish several things; our ability to get there cost-effectively using chemical propulsion, development and mission testing of life support systems, actual radiation exposure and mitigation, the psychology of such long confinement, etc. It's a huge step in the right direction.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  10. more2bits

    They will be too late.

    Why?

    Because on October 19th, 2014 Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will come very close to impacting Mars and the probability cone has it coming within 67,000 miles. And that's with few observations in which to determine it's precise orbit. If additional measurements in the months ahead have Mars within the probability cone–then it could impact Mars and that will be very bad for the human race.

    Why?

    Because this Comet is 30 miles wide–30 times the volume of the dinosaur killer and traveling at 126,000 mph as it nears Mars and if it hits will bring the power of 20 billion megatons of explosive power–creating a crater over 1000 miles wide–and flinging huge chunks of Mars into space–and a possible collision with Earth when the Earth circles around the Sun about 6 months later.

    If this happens will see a 2nd sun in the sky–the impact will be brighter than the sun for a few minutes even though further away than the sun.

    Pity those having a cloudy day if they miss it.

    But don't despair–the asteroids coming at us 6 months later would be coming by the thousands and you can try dodging them all!!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Some Chick

      Oh goody, more doomsday prepper shows.

      More idiots digging holes and bomb shelters and loading up on guns and chili to prepare
      for the end.....ugh

      February 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  11. Polar Bear

    Love my wife but that would be a long, long time to be constantly in close proximity. She would end up stabbing me in my sleep before we got halfway there.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  12. Korgri

    It's analogous to crossing the Pacific Ocean in a canoe. Better to wait for faster tech.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • carlc

      Horrible, backwards thinking. You get there with what you have and create the demand for more advanced craft. If Columbus had waited for more advanced ships, rather than crossing the Atlantic in Mediterranean coastal vessels, we wouldn't be having this discourse.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  13. Carl

    If anyone is afraid to take the risk of being the first, they can wait until some reputable company like Carnival establishes regular safe space flight.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  14. johnnybegood

    as some stud said above, a trip to Mars will not happen due to a failed US economy. We are going nowhere but down yet morons fail to see this!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Aletheya

      Why not just off yourself then? If you have that gloomy an outlook on your future, what's the point in carrying on? Shake it off, johnny, there is a future.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
      • johnnybegood

        shake ur pinus dry in da turlet!

        February 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • RG33

      Yeah, the lines to get into Outback here rivals any bread line. I guess all these people are starving for steaks.

      February 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
  15. The Great Satan

    Sounds like a wonderful idea.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  16. Germanicus

    Sounds like a one way journey to me.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  17. terisa

    I'll go!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  18. major tom to ground control

    I volunteer for this mission, not concerned with returning to this wretched life on Earth, so that's not an issue. Sign me up! M-A-R-S, Mars b1tches!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Polar Bear

      Wretched life on earth means wretched life anywhere. No matter where you go, there you are.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  19. Puckles

    You people are all such gullible little sheep. Man never even went to the moon. He/She will most certainly never make it to Mars.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • PaxLoki

      check your meds–adjust your tin foil hat

      February 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • Puckles

        SHEEP! GULLIBLE. UNEDUCATED. MORONIC. WILL BELIEVE ANYTHING YOUR GOVERNMENT TELLS YOU. SHEEP.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Polar Bear

      Thanks for making me laugh out loud! Funny.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Aletheya

      If you're on meds, stop them. If you're not, start them. Your brain is clearly malfunctioning.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Carl

      Don't trust the government! Trust some guy on the Internet named "Puckles".

      February 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • Aletheya

        LOL!

        February 27, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
      • carlc

        Well put!

        February 28, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • John

      Shouting isn't going to further your cause... unless your cause is to bring attention to the rising epidemic of mental illness.

      February 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • RG33

      And Columbus never left Europe... You are actually living in England!

      February 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  20. Robert

    I'd trust the private space industry to get me there and back safely before I'd trust NASA. If there's a huge disaster, the company could lose tons of money and perhaps even go out of business. If NASA has a huge disaster, it's "Whoops, better luck next time."

    February 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Lew

      Yes, I guess Carnival will be providing transport.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  21. Cal Newlan

    We need to get our priorities straight. First we must tear down that ridiculous Dome of the Rock and rebuild the Jewish Temple, then we can play spaceman.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • PaxLoki

      not sure what one has to do with the other

      February 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  22. Mike

    I propose Ahmadi-Nejad / Natanyahu for the trip.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  23. Daniel

    500 days with one woman who's constantly asking "how much longer?" "are we lost?" "do you know what you're doing?" "what are you thinking about?"

    No thanks!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  24. The Flamingo Kid

    This is such a joke. They are spending millions if not billions of $ on this pointless garbage when there are people starving to death on this earth. This is a SIN that people will be held accountable for.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • JH

      Why aren't you working at a food kitchen right now, rather than posting on CNN?

      February 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
      • Puckles

        I do a heck of a lot more for humanity in one day than you will ever do in your lifetime. LOSER.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • The Flamingo Kid

        You are nothing but a sheep. You are the problem with mankind. It will be nice to see when God wipes your kind off the face of the Earth.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Polar Bear

      Puckles is a bitter meanie.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  25. us_1776

    Of what value is just taking a trip out to Mars without being able to land?

    The physics of just sending a rocket out to Mars and back is trivial. Space Science 101.

    The whole point of any Mars exercise should be to land on the planet and increase our knowledge.

    This is nothing more than a publicity stunt.

    .

    February 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Carl

      Yeah, it's a publicity stunt. But it's a pretty #$&%ing cool one.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  26. Mike

    What a waste. Go to Mars and not land? Crazy.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  27. Cliff Olney

    Love the idea! It's been too long ! America needs this again. I watched all the moon landings, and was proud of my country. Let's do this. I'll volunteer. I just would need to find a woman I could get along with for a year and a half. LOL

    February 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  28. roccop777

    Are they taking bets on whether this flight to Mars will take place in 2018? If so I would put money down, confident that this trip to Mars will not take place. You heard it here! For all you Star Trek faithful/gullible, be prepared to pay up in 2018!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  29. wildman

    alas but it is true that cosmic radiation would likely be fatal on such a trip...it is still one of the main obstacles to far space travel not considering things like distance and lifespan...still, i'd go in a heartbeat.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  30. gary

    Send 2 to Mars for ..... what? Bragging rights? We have hungry kids here in USA.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • carlc

      Wow, get educated on the benefits of exploration. Just the improvement in air and water purification systems would likely yield huge dividends, for all you "fix the Earth first" short-sighted greenies. Plus having a greater future to look forward to would inspire millions of kids to study math, science and engineering, just like Apollo did.

      Time to get a clue.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  31. goo6er

    I'd rather land on the planet and die there than return to earth having never touched down.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  32. George F Mohn

    UP SHIP!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  33. shan22044

    Roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars have failed without completing their missions, and it has a reputation as difficult space exploration target.

    With those odds, better off continuing to send robots...

    February 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  34. Susan

    This represents a total waste of resources with no return value. And I question whether even billionaires have any right or privilege to waste their money on anything they fancy. But the human race may not be quite ready for this take on waste.

    All I know for certain is that a pair of humans flying by Mars will will return nothing of value to Earth. Perhaps you all will worship them?

    February 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Susan

      Advancing knowledge? What knowledge?

      February 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
      • Aletheya

        Wide berth, folks. Susan talks to herself. More than one conversation at a time, too.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Carl

      There sure are some mean and bitter people out there.

      February 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Jefferson Tester

      Yeah , how dare those wealthy people do anything with their money! They should just let it sit in the bank and let you stew over the fact that it's not yours.

      February 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • professor

      Seriously? People don't have the right to spend their money the way they see fit? Wow! I mean just wow!!!! Listen to how the Obama voters think people- Susan puts it on display for us!

      Do you think the masterminds in government would have approved of the Wright Brothers crazy invention? Or the automobile? The ignorance in this post is beyond incredible.

      February 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  35. M.

    Can I volunteer my mother-in-law for the mission?

    February 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  36. Cooper

    NO way, NO how.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  37. jim mraz

    LETS SEND OBAMA & McCONNELL Just See the conclusion of who gets to step on mars first !

    February 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  38. Lew

    Men are from Mars, so this must be HER idea.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  39. Mark Gerardy

    A husband and wife trip to Mars is a disaster waiting to happen. First of all, they will miss Mars and end up on Jupiter iinstead because the husband will get lost and refuse to ask for directions. They will fight and bicker all the way there like any ol' married couple. He will criticize her driving and she will constantly tell him to slow down. Then when they kiss and make up, they will fog up with windows of the space capsule and then really get lost.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  40. geezoid

    Don't let the woman anywhere near the steering wheel...

    February 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  41. soican

    I was going to say why not two men but that was done with the moon a few times.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  42. aubrie

    If said spaceship comes equipped with a separate "man cave" (for obvious reasons), and a pleasant place for me to get away, I'm game!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  43. w5cdt

    Send Karl Rove and Sarah Palin.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  44. angelofflorida

    Im single, 26 yrs old and its my dream to go to space someday. Why not send me? I think it would be smarter to send a younger person who doesnt mind not having children and radiation exposure wouldnt be as great a risk as it would shorten the lifespan of a 50 yr old.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
  45. Adam from Eden

    Why does it have to be a couple if they are not going to land and reproduce?

    February 27, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  46. Jay

    It is obvious by this that people don't understand the dangers of prolonged space exposure plus the limits of our own creation.
    The only way to travel to far planets would be to time travel,the length of time spent in space would be physically and mentally to demanding. The limitations of power and man made products that were produced here as well as power needed would be exceeded.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
  47. Benny

    This whole idea is gay......Hey, let's send some lesbians!

    February 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  48. Sarah

    Want. In. So. Bad.
    My Husband and I are both fit and healthy...

    February 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  49. jim mraz

    GAY OR STRAIGHT ! JUST ASKING.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Cal Newlan

      We don't need any gay "docking" in space. Children may be watching.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • jim mraz

        For a man of god you know a lot of GAY terminology, your not a cardinal of Scotland are you...?

        February 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  50. Cal Newlan

    We should all thank the Lord Jesus Christ for the gift of science.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  51. rednaxelat

    I don't get why they have to plan for re-entry to Earth. Why not just dock at the ISS and hitch a ride back down?

    February 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • JH

      When you're screaming past Earth/ISS on the return trip, you have two options for braking – you can either crash into Earth at full speed and let the atmosphere slow you down (for free), or you can haul a bunch of fuel all the way there and back again just to brake at the ISS.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
  52. Big_D

    This is a nice story but we will be lucky if NASA is still around in a few years.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Jefferson Tester

      Why does that matter? This is being done by the private sector.

      February 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
  53. husband_wife

    Ah, it's going to be an interesting dinner conversation tonight...

    Me: "You know how we've talked about Belize or getting a sailboat and just taking off?"
    Wife: "I'm not going on a sailboat. I've told you."
    Me: "Right, no sailboat."
    Wife: "No sailboat."
    Me: "How about a spaceship instead? Just you and me for 2 years, lost in space?"
    Wife: "How many CDs can we bring?"
    Me: "Well, Steve Miller's a given; probably some Bowie; maybe some Dead."
    Wife: "Just us, alone, in space, for two years, together?"
    Me: "You in?"
    Wife: "No. No sailboat. No spaceship. You married the wrong girl."
    Me: "How about if we just play "spaceship" later, for an hour or two, see how it goes?"
    Wife: "Why is it you've never grown up?"
    Me: "Aren't you happy I still want to play spaceship with you?"

    February 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • professor

      OMG! Get out of my head! I had that exact conversation just seconds ago. LOL

      February 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  54. Josh

    If it takes 2 days to get to the moon, wouldnt it take at least 300 days to go one way to Mars? Are they building a better engine. 36,000,000 to Mars. 238,*** to the Moon. 301 days one way.

    February 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Big_D

      At least visit Johnson or Kennedy before you buy this.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  55. Altaf Memon

    Send a couple who are at the brink of divorce. They will have 501 days to think over it 🙂

    February 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  56. crappygovernment

    NASA = space welfare agency for defense contractors, I pray that no tax dollars get used in these space scams! Feel free to check out my blog on the Apollo hoaxes by clicking my name.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • RG33

      Aliens built the pyramids... and Neal Armstrong rode a UFO to the Moon!

      February 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  57. Death row inmates need to apply

    This is a pipe dream at best, nothing can protect us from that amount of radiation or as he said bring us back safely into the atmosphere so lets make it a one way trip with someone who has nothing to lose. Deathrow or terrorists should be sent off.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • RG33

      Botany Bay!

      February 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • RG33

        Kahn!!!!!!

        February 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  58. Sue

    So how many private companies plan on the Mars thing? Seems now as if Dozens of them plan on doing it. Elon musk is the only one I'm banking on at this point. The rest all talk, dreams, and trying to raise financial support that goes to their pockets versus Mars.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  59. Cathy

    Robert Heinlein already thought of this scenario years ago in his book "Stranger in a Strange Land" (as he thought of so many things that have since become part of our culture.) Read that book and see how well it worked out for them.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • RG33

      Don't forget Edgar Rice Burroughs!

      February 27, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  60. asdrel

    Why, oh why must some people insist on working their animosity for the president into every article they come across, whether the article has anything to do with national politics or not. Can't you folks ever stick to the topic at hand?

    That being said, I agree with those that would feel let down to travel all that way and not touch down.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  61. K from AZ

    Comrade Obama & 'moochelle'!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  62. Kelly51

    Please use Barack and Michelle. Please!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  63. PaxLoki

    of course a flyby will be much cheaper than a landing

    February 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  64. ColdWarVet75

    Didn't Ralph Kramden threaten to send Alice to the Moon?

    February 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  65. james

    There's no reason to go there, there's nothing there for humans. How dumb, unless they take my wife. I can remember when the Martians invaded the earth and wiped out the place with flying saucers. People claim that they went for ride in the flying saucers, so why not wait till they come back.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • PaxLoki

      one of the dumbest thigs I've read in years

      February 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  66. OtherSF

    Send Illegals Immigrant from Mexico. They will survive.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  67. Zoomie

    I volunteer my wife to go.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  68. cre8tivemonster

    My g/f and I would love the opportunity to go to Mars. We are not married at this time..."at this time". Please give "Jack and Jill' the opportunity to wed on a Martian Hill!!!!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  69. rob-in-austin

    I nominate Kim K. and Kanye West.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • seriously

      That seems to be the two most popular

      February 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  70. KimKarTrashian

    SEND ME AND ........... WHOEVER THAT GUY IS I'M MARRIED TO RIGHT NOW!!!
    Kim...

    February 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • rob-in-austin

      whoa – that was weird.

      February 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  71. Matt

    Not a chance in he** this will happen by 2018. Just how exactly do they plan to get there? No launch vehicle currently exists that can propel a yet-to-be-designed crew capsule capable of carrying a year's worth of provisions for two human beings. The US is currently designing a new heavy lift launch vehicle (Space Launch System – SLS) whose first launch is not scheduled until 2017 – and that is with an uncrewed Orion capsule. This is the only system that will be capable of launching a real human-crewed vehicle beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO). The Russians and Chinese most certainly do not have this capability.

    These people are living in fantasyland...

    February 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  72. Charles

    I nominate myself and Kerry Washington. We are not married yet but such a minor detail shouldn't matter.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  73. ysc

    Are they going to do a test flight to the moon before going to Mars?

    February 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  74. TimmyTimmy!

    Won't make it back? LOL Have some faith in Humanity people.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  75. Frayie

    Married couple, are you kidding me? They will get into a fight on their way to the launch site. Get a Southern racist woman and a Black Man. Or a Republican and a Muslim. It will take them almost the entire length of the return journey to figure out how to talk to each other.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • shan22044

      Now THAT's funny. When they get back they'll be getting married. Celebrity Astronaut Wedding and a reality TV series!

      February 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  76. rrkkmm

    Please send me. By the time this gets here, Obama will have totally screwed this country up beyond repair and not worth living here anymore. Or, better yet, send Obama and that hag on a one way trip.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Frayie

      Read my comment right above yours. Which one are you? Racist Southernor, Republican or both?

      February 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Susan

      It will be interesting to watch how blindly you rich conservative Christian racists will blame what happens March 1 on Obama and nothing on the Congress that created this mess. Years ago when the Soviet Union fell I thought, "There but for you go I." I think we have a long ways to slide–shouldn't be to painful. :)(

      February 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
  77. Dave

    My wife of 20 years thought I was crazy for wanting to be with her and sail from the CONUS to BVI. I wonder how she would feel about this? Sign us up!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  78. DB

    This is utterly preposterous.

    Only a sovereign nation can command the massive resources needed for this. A for-profit company could never do it, and a private foundation could never do it. Only a government could. Just like Richard Branson's "Virgin Galactic," this is just a publicity stunt by some self-serving millionaires. They have no intention of over accomplishing this!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • RG33

      Bill Gates & Warren Buffet have over $100 Billion between them.

      February 27, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  79. rosie

    "And the mission planners will have to prepare for the possibility of a crew member perishing."

    Yeah well sending a married couple will almost guarantee this.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  80. Kilmo

    I would like to volunteer Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for the mission. And don't worry, they will not need the oxygen. PLEASE!!!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  81. seriously

    Send me, 1002 blunts, 501 bags of dorritos and a whole lot of water. Have you ever seen Mars up close man? Have you ever seen Mars up close...On weeeeed!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  82. Mike Mazz

    lol 501 days in a ship eating and drinking recycled food. Sounds like a lot of fun but ill leave it to someone else.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  83. aztlanshark

    Like the Baby Boomers haven't screwed up enough already. I think it's time to let the next generation have a go.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  84. Sanka

    How do I make a donation?

    February 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  85. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    No humans have travelled beyond Earth orbit since 1972, so just for that reason the mission would be important. Really, it's about seeing how human beings deal with a 500-day interplanetary mission. That's where the real science in the mission is. This mission is also, needless to say, very dangerous for the same reasons. Everyone would have to be clear about the risk.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  86. Guest

    We can send people to Mars. Can we stop our death?
    We can, say, go to Pluto. Will we avoid punishment for our sins?
    For that we have to confess our sins and accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • chemez

      What the hell is wrong with you!!?!?!

      February 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
      • Aletheya

        He drank the kool-aid. The whole pitcher.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  87. Buck Rogers

    reentry is not a problem like they say. just dock at the space station on the way back and hitch a ride on a commuter back to earth. Problem solved!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  88. adela naji

    take us to Mars,were ready!!! We will even take our 2 dogs with us!!! We will sign our liability waiver today!!

    February 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  89. Caihlyn

    Okay...Let's discuss the actual science behind such a mission. The article brings up a few very valid concerns: radiation levels, live support systems, heat shields, etc. Neil deGrasse Tyson on NovaScienceNow has a great show explaining the challenges of getting humans to Mars. He explains the need for improved space suits, food that will not go bad in 501 days, protection from projectiles that can bust right through the hull of a ship.

    I'm wondering about the amount of time it would take to get to Mars and how that will compare to the time it takes to get back to Earth.

    The Mercury and Apollo missions moved one step at a time: rocket a human into space, orbit the Earth, orbit the moon, dock with a ship, land on the moon. Sometimes a great adventure must be attempted in stages.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • RG33

      A room surrounded by your drinking water would help with shielding. Bigelow's designs use Kevlar and similar materials. Heavy recycling will be the biggest technical issue... the mechanics in a small space are rather complex and fragile. Unlike ISS with cargo ships, resupply is out. Lots of problems could be solved, if they could have a small nuke reactor. Power your way through problems! Split water, scrub CO2, heat/cool, distill, etc. etc. Hard to do with a few KW or less of solar.

      February 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
  90. El Man

    At least take with you some bacteria or plant seeds and drop them when flying-by to start the terraforming! Don't just go and come back empty handed (and very well radiated).

    February 27, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  91. ISS

    1) Reentry heat shield issue: on return, they could enter Earth orbit and stop at the International Space Station. Paragon could pay Russia to bring them down from there. Paragon could buy docking technology from any country that flies to the ISS and train the couple to use it. (That suggests they should recruit pilots.)
    2) They should do an unmanned dry run of the whole trip or part of it, maybe just around the moon — no radiation protection or life support needed.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  92. Ian

    My wife and I would do that in a heartbeat! Where do we sign up??

    February 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  93. thebeerdude

    Knock her up, land on Mars and give birth to the first Martian.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Jon

      Would that child be able to run for president in 2056?

      February 27, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
      • Moakie

        Only if he/she can produce the original birth certificate showing he/she was born on Mars (by then a U.S. territory).

        February 28, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • Frayie

      Great idea but the mission planners will definitley tie her tubes and snip his muffler before the journey.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  94. Wayne

    Thing humans dont know yet is once on the surface you would feel suffocated until loss on life. 5-6 minutes later you would regain a heart beat and be able to breathe.
    Its not a matter of if we can live on the surface but how they would find food.
    Id be thrilled to go on a one way trip.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Caihlyn

      Zombies don't exist Wayne! Not even on Mars. Go read a book.

      February 27, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
      • Aletheya

        No zombies because no brains to eat. Sheesh, you'd think that would be obvious.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • Loyal Northern Democrat

        "If I only had a brain" Obama

        February 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
  95. Clint

    My wife and I are both 46. In 2018 that would make us 51. Both very fit and 51 is still a very competent age. Both children already grown and on their own. Most likely this is a suicide mission and my wife and I have both discussed not wanting to ever be a pair of old, infirm invalids. Worst case: Go out with style while giving back to the world. Best case: make it home alive. Its easy to put decades of movies, shows, music and games on iPads. That along with a camera and a lead-lined box for both to protect from radiation and we're good.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Jeff

      If it's not NASA doing this mission...but a bunch of people that own a company and thinks it would be a cool idea to send someone to Mars...

      You can pretty much guarantee you will be lucky to make it there..cause you definitely won't make it back.

      February 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • Barbara Moore

        You are clearly clueless about the private sector space industry business. NASA does not corner the market on the process.

        February 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
      • Mark

        Don't underestimate the power of capitalism. So far, NASA has blown up more people then SpaceX. I'd put my money, or in this case my life, in the hands of the private sector over the government any day.

        February 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
      • Jeff

        Barbara Moore:

        I guarantee you private companies will NOT make it work.

        Bookmark it.

        February 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
      • Petercha

        Amen, Mark.

        February 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • Michael Horoda

        Ditto to the negativity in the comment. If this guy and his wife want to do this for humanity, then graciously accept the offer. These people obviously are mature, thinking individuals. If they are successful then they will have gone where no man, woman or married couple has gone before. And believe me, if they wrote a book about handling marriage issues after their successful return, I would buy it because they would really know what they are talking about. Contrast that to the self-annointedrelationship experts from Mars and Venus. 😉

        February 27, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • Joe Linton

        Look up Bigelow aerospace, Genesis II . I guarantee you that private companies will make it work.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
      • MarylandBill

        Mark, I agree that it would be wrong to underestimate where private industry can get us. But in fairness to both NASA and SpaceX, the latter hasn't actually sent anyone to space yet. I am pretty confident they will be successful when they do, but until then, lets not slam NASA for occasionally failing at something that the private sector has yet to accomplish (putting someone into orbit).

        February 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
      • shan22044

        @Mark,

        Ummm, SpaceX has had how many launches? And has launched exactly how many people?
        How can you compare the incident records of NASA and SpaceX like that, with a straight face?
        That's like a horse with a 100% win record with one race under its belt.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • OldJoe

        501-days locked up with my wife?

        February 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
      • JH

        > So far, NASA has blown up more people then SpaceX

        Ah yes, private enterprise is so much safer. Alaska Airlines Flight 261? Never underestimate the power of private enterprise to cut corners to keep a few more bucks in their pocket. After all, there's an acceptable rate of loss that can still be kept profitable.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
      • gupsphoo

        Mark : Well of course you won't crash your car if you haven't driven at all.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
      • Todd

        They should try a Moon landing first. Once that is a reality for the first time, they can go to Mars or something.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
      • rob0rah

        I agree with Old Joe....locked up with your ole lady for that long.......yikes!

        February 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • Jefferson Tester

        When we landed on the moon AND RETURNED SAFELY, we were using mostly elbow grease and slide rules. We currently have more computing power in a cheap cell phone than we did in the entirety of NASA at that point. This is very possible, but we have to have faith in our ability to do so, like we did in the sixties. If this works it will be a testament to the possibilities inherent to the capitalist mindset.

        February 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
      • Freeworld81

        I would trust that a private company will get this done before any government agency. The government lacks freedom; they are controlled by policies and a bunch of red tape. Private companies will invest the necessary funds for the research and advanced technology to make this happen. We have the technology already!

        For example: Look at Apple and Samsung!!! The technology for these new smartphones have been out for years, but companies release this technology in stages to keep the interest of the customer on a string.

        February 27, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
      • Will

        "Don't underestimate the free market"

        Is that the same free market that spent 50 years putting cars on the road that were designed to fall apart with 80,000 miles on the odometer? Give me a break.

        February 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
      • John

        @Mark: you're a typical i d i o t conservative shill, comparing fifty years of successful manned space progress, where NASA has sent HUNDREDS of astronauts safely into space and back all the while gaining all sorts of scientific and engineering advances... with a rich guy's money-making effort to send other rich tourists into suborbital flight. By the way, SpaceX has not sent a single human being into actual space, so of course there have been no fatalities, you m o r o n.

        February 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
      • LL

        Who will love on the grand kids....their creepy uncle Earnie that the spouse's people have always been worried about, but just felt it wasn't their place to rock the boat?

        Speaking of boats...Just how much food can anybody pack into one of those trash cans they send up into space?

        February 27, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • RG33

        I think we should all sit around home watching TV until we we grow too old and fat to do anything but die. Why get out in the world (or space), when that might be dangerous and scary?

        Who needs another Orville & Wilbur or Henry Ford or Capt Cook or Marco Polo or Robert Scott or even Evil Knievel? Sure its a stunt, but so is climbing Mt. Everest, yet hundreds spend $$$$ to try their skill. What do you think those Nascar drivers are doing? It an't for the money. I just wish I was about 1yr old, because in another 50, there will be all kinds of cool space adventures to do.

        February 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
      • do the math

        Saying NASA has killed more people than SpaceX is oversimplifying this to an extreme degree. If you calculated the number of deaths NASA has experienced against the number of man/woman-mission-hours, it would be a tiny, tiny number. Private space flight and/or operations has probably only operated 1/10 of 1% as much as NASA has. Sure, private sector has a 0 for death rate right now, but even 1 private-sector space fatality in the next 5 years would raise the private sector death rate to a substantially higher rate than that of NASA.

        Your statement is fundamentally as solid as saying the NYPD has killed more police officers than my hometown's police force, who has a force of 5 officers. My hometown has never lost a single officer EVER, but if you totaled up every man-hour worked by that department in it's entire 50 year history, it would be less than the NYPD works in a few weeks.

        February 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
      • manned?

        Keep the bean counters away from the engineers and it should be fine.

        February 28, 2013 at 12:41 am |
      • yourkiddingme

        Barbara Moore

        You are clearly clueless about the private sector space industry business. NASA does not corner the market on the process.

        HAS SPACE-X PUT PEOPLE INTO SPACE YET?! NO! They are slated for their first in 2015. Who the **** is clueless?!

        February 28, 2013 at 2:08 am |
      • carlc

        So much certainty from Jeff, and based on what?

        February 28, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Thom Burke

        I'm going to bet there will be every angle of marketing used for any data, images or videos that come out of it too. Man's first Mission to Mars, on Pay-Per-View.

        February 28, 2013 at 11:51 am |
      • MarylandWarren

        Actually Jeff, you should take a look at the website. This in partnership with NASA. Many of the folks associated with the project have quite a bit of experience with the whole space-faring thing. I'd say they have a decent chance of doing it if the funding is there.....

        March 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Brian

      Good luck, hope you can do it!

      February 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • lancedal

      Worst case: you returned to earth and slowly died here due to cancer
      Best case: you died in space.

      February 27, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Jim

      You are looking at this all wrong. 501 days in close quarters with your wife? Well, one of you might return.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
      • RockInD

        Well, they did say they had to account for the possibility of a crew member perishing.

        February 27, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • wildman

      took the words right out of my mouth only we're ten years older...

      February 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Roni Clark

      Can we stop at Pluto ? And my cat would love this trip as well

      February 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
      • Sherry Nudge

        Surely you can't be serious.

        February 28, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Twons

      Well, if they are offering frequent flier miles for each of us, on 80 million miles at 1.2 cents per mile, that makes it just under $1mil each. We would consider it.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • How about one way for a death row inmate

      Instead of spending the money to bring them back send them one way and find someone we wont worry about dying alone in the abyss. That way we can go even farther, send them past Mars and keep them going into outer space. Lets see how far we can get them. Make it a new space race, who can send there deathrow inmates the farthest into space!

      February 27, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • One Shot at the Stars

      That's the spirit... I'd add in some form of exersise equipment. Otherwise you will both end up being rather well rounded upon your return.

      Take some bubble gum to patch any holes in the outer shell due to some "space dust".

      Now, THAT's inginuity!

      Best of luck to you.

      February 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • jon

      You will for sure die. The human body cannot tolerate weightlessness for 501 days

      February 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
      • whirly

        Site your facts. Russians have had people in space for well over a year. Looks like 438 days is the record. I don't think another 63 would put anyone over the edge.

        February 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • nisroc00

      You realize they are probably looking for human lab rats since i doubt they wish to use chimps again.

      February 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bob Dowlen

      I volunteer. I'm 70 and will accept any younger woman.

      February 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Rescue7

      Dude, just a hunch... They are looking for pilots.

      February 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • mason

      If the wife murders the husband do US laws even apply to space? The sling shot mission is quite feasible, but the re-entry very iffffy.

      February 27, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
      • Twons

        Yup, unless there's some other recognized authority out there international law would have the accused returned to the proper authorities at the point of origin.

        February 27, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Clint's Wife

      Honey, stop posting. We're not going anywhere.

      February 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Raj

      Can I volunteer to send my in-laws instead?
      I will even pay 1000 dollars to the program if they want to pre-pone the launch to 2016........a small step for mankind, a giant leap for me....

      February 28, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • BlahBlahBlogBlog

      i am
      sure
      they re
      going
      to pick
      a
      white couple

      WHAT ELSE IS NEW ?

      February 28, 2013 at 5:40 am |
      • thisismyname

        Well white people are the craziest...

        March 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Elvis

      The question is WHY ???

      There is nothing there, nothing, the rovers are telling us everything anyway.
      Unless we are going to colonize it fine. but what a waist.
      Just my opinion of course.

      February 28, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • Estubon

        If you were the real Elvis you could spell WASTE.

        February 28, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Some Chick

      Novel idea: How about doing good for our man kind here on earth ? Alot of us Americans wonder each morning how we
      will feed our families today. Struggle for food, housing, medicine, everything.
      Volunteer. Help someone less fortunate than you are. Give. It wont make you famous or put you in the news. This last two or three decades are about me me me. It breaks my heart to tell my son , no we dont have anything to eat. I know many others in this Country go through the same thing.
      Give of yourself, your time, your money, your heart. No , you wont get famous, but you will make a difference.

      February 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Anthony

      Bring "Mile High Club" to a whole new level.

      February 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • Raxxillion

      Good packing list, but iPads don't last that long. Just saying.

      March 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  96. Guy

    The volunteer’s name? Valentine Michael Smith

    February 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • TBoehm30

      That would be the name of the child left behind.

      February 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • Jon

        I thought there was no child left behind.

        February 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Jim Dunne

      Grok. Thou art God. 🙂

      February 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • PaxLoki

      a fellow stranger

      February 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
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