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. Lewis Michael Rhinehart

    This is disinfo as we have been on Mars at least since the late 70's. We have established bases there and arrive there via teleportation and superluminal craft. We have also went there in conventional space craft. In Truth, Lewis

    April 25, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  2. bl1kzz

    Good day. My name is Stefano, and am 20 years of age. A trip to Mars sounds absolutely remarkable. I recently spent a year in a monastery , studying the complexity ( yet simplicity ) of the human mind. I believe our nature of discovering and exploring is fundamental, which is why I am deeply interested in this project. I would love to know how we can participate to this program.

    April 19, 2013 at 8:13 am |
  3. Confused

    In my humble opinion this race deserves it's own fate. We did this to our planet. A planet that was more than capable of supporting us. As obsessed as I am with space I don't believe we have the right to destroy another one.

    March 10, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  4. Michael

    I haven't looked at the whole thread, so I apologize if someone has already suggested this...but to solve the issue of high-speed re-entry, why not simply have the returning craft pull into earth orbit and dock with the ISS? Then they could return safely to earth in another vehicle, or undock and re-enter the atmosphere at a lower speed. I'm no expert on avionics, but that makes sense to me.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • MarylandWarren

      I believe the amount of fuel neccesary to do such a maneuver....

      March 7, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • MarylandWarren

      Sorry for the duplicate....hit post to quick!
      Michael, the amount of fuel you would have to have on board is probably way more then they could carry. That's why the aerobraking is neccesary. Let the friction do it for you. It should be a wild ride....

      March 7, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  5. Wes

    Wife on Mars mission: some assembly required, batteries not included. No problem, mission plans are go.

    March 5, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  6. Anthony

    The private sector is most very likely the one that will get space exploration done. The bureaucratic red tape of government has always gotten in the way in the past. It was the biggest reason NASA has been hamstrung, In order for them to get their money some got something added to it for their benefit which is typical of congress. If the private sector gets it done it will be a huge step in favor of humanity. Perhaps it will be a one way trip, perhaps not. There were never any guarantees no matter who funded exploration. It is a hope that they make it, that is worth the attempt.

    March 4, 2013 at 6:31 am |
  7. Martina

    I think this is good idea. Me and my boyfriend want to go.We traveled around word many times so this will be fun.We are now over 40 so I think we are the best candidates.Hope they take me and him. Sorry about my English Im from Europe.

    March 4, 2013 at 4:22 am |
  8. pipak

    Well, this is the correct way to go...
    Humans need something like that, the asteroid could kill the earth and that is it. The game over.
    Going under the see might be good, but moon, and other planets is the way to go in the future,,,,
    This last asteroid, even do I don't believe in God, like sign from the heven.
    Don't wanna end up like TREx.. Do You?

    March 4, 2013 at 3:59 am |
  9. josh rogen

    it would be much easier to build a self-replicating robotic society on mars and lease them as avatars to people on earth who would operate them over the internet. i could see billions in profit and advertising as this would be more real then the cyber realities that people currently invest in.

    March 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  10. josh rogen

    the re-entry problem is an easy fix, the ship could dock at the space station and a separate ship made for re-entry could be used to return them to earth (should they survive the journey that is)

    March 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  11. crapnewsnetwork

    I'm so sick of reading this story I could scream. This will never ever happen by 2018. This will not happen by 2118. The pace of space exploration is slower than a glacier.

    This is a fantasy story best left to the back pages of an Archie comic book.

    March 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Anthony

      If necessity is the father of invention, the negativity is the father of defeat. Try to look past your negativity for once.

      March 4, 2013 at 6:36 am |
  12. Robert

    Waste mission and resource.. Can't find food for starving stomach but can make some stupid moves..USA grow up!!!

    February 28, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • lizardking1086

      I"m sorry, but you're an idiot. . . I hope you realize that this is being privately funded and has nothing do with public funds, you; like most; did not read the entire article, you're partially to blame for the degradation of this country because you refuse to actually look into the facts and make an educated decision.

      March 1, 2013 at 1:00 am |
  13. The Septic Sceptic

    Anyone volunteering for this mission will be exposing themselves to galactic cosmic rays. These are the nuclei of iron atoms. They are extremely high energy. They pass straight through spacecraft and human tissue. In human tissue they cause severe cellular disruption. Astronauts suffer a higher than normal level of cataracts and cancers and they are still in the protective fold of the Earth's magnetic field. This couple will have no such protection. Over a year in space with no shielding – this is never going to happen.

    February 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • lizardking1086

      Just so you know, 90% of the galactic rays that have been observed come from hydrogen nuclei and not iron; the majority of ionized rays are made up of protons and positrons, not just one singular atom nuclei. . . And as I have stated before, there has been advancements with electromagnetic field generators that can cover the travelers through intergalactic space. . . Do so research, before you post such a dumb hypothesis.

      March 1, 2013 at 1:09 am |
      • The Septic Sceptic

        Lizardking, I would appear to have upset you. This was not my intent when I sent my post. You are indeed correct that low energy Cosmic Rays are mostly protons, however it is the highest energy rays that do the damage and are unlikely to be stopped by any electromagnetic field generators that currently exist or are likely to exist in the near future (certainly not within the next 5 years). At a meeting of the American Physical Society in Washington DC in February 2010 new data was revealed that shows that the highest energy cosmic rays may be iron nuclei. Perhaps this is research of which you are not aware. Also it is worth noting that high energy cosmic rays posses an energy level some 10 million times that of the highest energy particles produced on Earth bound accelerators. It is on this basis that I maintain my assertion that there will be no manned spacecraft orbiting Mars five years from now. With reference to a previous post I too believe that this is most likely a publicity stunt.

        March 1, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  14. worm

    waste of $ nasa is spend the taxes to feed the hungry who cares about pics of rocks!

    February 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • lizardking1086

      You obviously did not read the article. . . This has nothing to do with NASA, please refrain from ever commenting on something that you know absolutely nothing about.

      February 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  15. The_Mick

    How are they going to protect their eyes against the cosmic rays that are a minor problem when shielded by the Earth's magnetic field but will be a major one on such a mission. With the probability of some mechanical problem occurring, why only two people when there needs to be a redundant vehicle? This is either a ridiculous idea or a publicity stunt.

    February 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm |


    February 28, 2013 at 12:58 pm |


    February 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  18. Nikki

    The brains behind this operation has obviously never been married..Let's put a couple in a space ship all alone for over a year..if they do not ending up killing each other, they will more than likely file for divorce or be bat s**t crazy, when they return. Has no one ever read the shinning, albeit fiction, 501 days is a really long time to be cooped up with someone in a small space!

    February 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  19. Pete

    For something so big as a humans to Mars mission, that inspirationmars website is pretty weak looking. Looks like some seventh grader's first html page.

    February 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  20. Anna

    Ultimately, though, what IS the point? We won't be able to some day have a thriving population on Mars, given that because of radiation there would be no way to keep a reproductive society. I guess in all reality, though, you could keep sending people there who didn't want to live long and it could be a legalized suicidal community. People who have that kind of money to waste obviously have no common sense. Pointless endeavor funded by senseless rich people. I really shouldn't be as surprised as I am that I just read such nonsense.

    February 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • lizardking1086

      It's not a waste of money; the money doesn't evaporate in space; it gets spent here on the ground; putting people to work.

      February 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Buck

      Senseless rich people? Please read the backgrounds of the individuals named in this article whom are leading the effort for this Mars mission. That should hopefully open your eyes and make you realize how embarassed you should be for posting that comment.

      February 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  21. Liquid Snake

    It's not the expense that would be a problem but re-supply. You can't lift off if overloaded with food and water, so you'll have to send re-supply modules either in tandem or to rendevous with the ship. So the question is who could you train in 5 years to tackle this kind of endeavor? You'd have to consider military or ex-military pilots first, like what was done with Mercury and more realistically Gemini and Apollo. Unless you really want to trust your life to a corporate interest, you'll need to know what you are doing once you're up there. Yes you can put all the flight data, guidance, and procedures in a smart phone, but you better know how to do it. You may lose comms, and all you have is a flashlight and a good old-fashioned notebook. I'm giving it one chance in a 100 that it works. From launch, to orbit, to Mars Orbital Path and return to Earth Orbital Path, and then finally re-entry and landing. Assuming you don't run out of food, air, water, go off course, exposed to too much radiation, hit a meteoroid, or kill each other after two years in space. Let's do it!!

    February 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  22. lizardking1086

    There are so many people here who are filled with woefully inaccurate information or understanding of what it actually takes to accomplish something of this magnitude. First off the rockets; they're not re-inventing the wheel here. Many of these private space companies have been given blueprints of NASA designed rockets, and actually have since simplified them to be more efficient and safer. 2nd, interplanetary travel is not as dangerous as you may think (radiation). They have designed electromagnetic reflection for such ships that it would essentially blanket the travelers from such high exposure. My 3rd and last point is that, this is the pinnacle of exploration of our species. They may not be landing on Mars itself, but just getting there and back would prove that further exploration and advancement may be worth the investment to inspire and galvanize the nation, if not the world itself to better itself and push the boundaries of our existence.

    February 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Buck

      Well stated. Your comment is a refreshing change from the large number of uneducated and negative comments.

      February 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  23. AJ

    As the government is sinking most of their money into the middle-east so called "wars" (hence the real cause of the deficit) and have gotten away from investing in space exploration/technology, there are lot of private sector companies that are emerging as pioneers and will more than likely exceed anything NASA can do. Heck, even back in the 80s they weren't that dependable, after the Challenger blow-up with the school teacher onboard, the joke was NASA stands for "Need Another Seven Astranouts"

    February 28, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  24. palintwit

    I am retired and living on a small pension, but this month I was still able to send $100 to SarahPAC, which as you know is Sarah Palin's political action committee. I urge you all to do the same. And after all, who knows better how to spend my $100 than Ms. Palin.

    February 28, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • lizardking1086

      This has nothing to do with the article at hand, please go somewhere else.

      February 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  25. jim

    What an idiotic idea. There is a reason NASA hasnt sent humans to orbit mars and return: because it accomplishes nothing. What are they going to do, take the same photos and do the same measurements that are currently being done by unmanned probes with no risk to life?
    Instead of oohing and aahing about the "coolness" of sending people to orbit mars, peole should do some real looking into the absolutely mind-boggling achievments of NASA and the Mars rovers.I'll bet most A mericans are not even aware of these rovers . And not one human life has been put at risk.

    February 28, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Buck

      "There is a reason NASA hasnt sent humans to orbit mars and return: because it accomplishes nothing." That statement is incorrect. Budgetary contraints are actually the only reason NASA hasn't sent a manned mission to Mars already. It's also why we didn't have an immediate replacement for the Space Shuttle.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  26. macbaldy

    Currently, no technology exists to adequately shield humans from the radiation in space. Expectations are that the duration of a trip to Mars will expose humans to enough radiation to induce Alzheimer's disease within a simple round trip. NASA mentioned this occasionally in discussing the Mars project's robotic rovers.

    February 28, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  27. phily

    fist of all. they did go 2 the moon. if they didn't russia and the rest would of said its fake. after all they was listening in. going 2 mars would be cool. when u get back. u be on all the talk shows and maybe a movie deal lol

    February 28, 2013 at 11:02 am |
  28. Dave

    Someone needs to come up with a faster method of transit than our current propulsion systems. Where's Zefram Cochrane when we need him? Oh yeah, he won't be born for another 19 years....

    February 28, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  29. Darkseider

    This is more like a suicide mission to Mars. The vehicle they plan on using is a modified version of the SpaceX Dragon capsule. It's a bit larger than Apollo and smaller than Orion capsules and they expect 2 people to last 1.5 years in that thing? How about being a bit more realistic and having the vehicle assembled and launched from orbit. This would afford a larger vehicle and less fuel overall to get the thing going and this is including delivering the components to orbit for assembly.

    February 28, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  30. Elvis

    The question is Why ???

    There is nothing there, nothing !!!, the rovers are there giving us feed back on that planet.
    If we were going to colonize it, then fine, but its a rock that can't sustain life.

    Just my opinion.

    February 28, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  31. gdf

    I'm seeing lots of potential investors here, mainly from food companies who provided the diet, water companies who provided the initial water, but most importantly from television networks as this will be a reality show with a constant feed camera, except for those more "private moments" that they require.

    February 28, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  32. DerDicht

    To do a fly by of Mars is ludicrous. Read the non-fictional works of Robert Zubrin. For a minimal expense a Direct to Mars series of missions puts a habitat on Mars, a fuel generator for the return trip, and the ability to establish a working community. We do not need to build expensive orbiting manufacturing operations.

    February 28, 2013 at 9:19 am |

    Two lesbians in space would be better.

    February 28, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • Elvis

      Why ??

      February 28, 2013 at 10:46 am |
      • lizardking1086

        Zero gravity scissoring of course, live stream that and they could be reimbursed by all those who pay to watch.

        February 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  34. Laurence

    It makes news but dumb idea

    February 28, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  35. bodyhater

    It's the Rutan Voyager all over again.

    February 28, 2013 at 8:07 am |
  36. gs

    Does their last name have to be "Robinson".

    February 28, 2013 at 7:58 am |
  37. Velvet

    Hillary Clinton and her lesbian lover (Huma) Should go start a new life on Mars, make sure to supply lots of di ldos and strap on for them though. HAHA 😉

    February 28, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Elvis

      What is..... di ldos and strap on for them ???

      February 28, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  38. speedy

    These comments were going great, lot's of humor and I actually enjoyed reading them. Then some Jacka*s had to bring politics and then another, god. I swear, the mentality of some of the posters on her is scary. I knew it was too good to be true.

    February 28, 2013 at 7:05 am |
  39. kevin

    Go for it! I'd donate a few bucks to make it happen.

    February 28, 2013 at 6:51 am |
  40. Onyango

    Send Barry and Michelle there after 2016, and please build them a new hut made from the red clay. 🙂

    February 28, 2013 at 6:45 am |
  41. Bill

    No man in his right mind wants to spend 500 days listening to, "I think we're lost! Why won't you just stop and ask directions??"

    February 28, 2013 at 6:01 am |
  42. Jerry

    "Single male, 48, looking for single female, 40-50, for marriage and honeymoon trip to Mars".......

    February 28, 2013 at 5:40 am |
  43. arch

    How much is this lil' venture going to cost the lucky couple? I don't know how much they will like drinking their urine over and over. It seems every so often we have these type bimbos coming out of the woodwork and having some pretty outrageous ideas. It seems to me that it would be better to attempt going around the moon and back before going all the way to Mars. It will be interesting to see how much money they come up with in the next two years. They might go off married and come back divorced!

    February 28, 2013 at 5:14 am |
  44. luvlar

    They can shoot my wife into space if they want. I'm staying here though.

    February 28, 2013 at 5:06 am |

      Amen brother.

      February 28, 2013 at 8:58 am |
  45. cheeseroll

    There are calls for one-way missions to Mars, and the argument goes like that because it's a lot cheaper and feasible for a mission which does not require a return journey.

    Thousands of people have already indicated an interest for a one-way trip, where they will form a kind of colony initially sustained by supply-drops from succeeding spacecraft while they get about building a sustainable system of nourishment and breathable air-supply.

    February 28, 2013 at 4:47 am |
  46. Jmc

    Don't think I'll hold my breath waiting for blast-off,a bit of wishful thinking nonsense...

    February 28, 2013 at 2:29 am |
  47. Ya'coub Anini

    If the two persons Journey has a critical weight you can send three thin light persons with the same weight, but
    if it has to do with critical number of life loss then I can understand that!

    February 28, 2013 at 1:55 am |
  48. ccoup

    "Million Mile High Club" comes to mind. Actually: "36 Million Mile High Club"

    February 28, 2013 at 1:21 am |
  49. Sy D'Vooh

    So they're going to travel 36,000,000 miles to Mars, and not go the last 100 miles to land on the surface of Mars?

    Complete waste of time and money.

    February 28, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  50. innersixx

    I'd imagine you'd become so disconnected from the world in those 500 days, people will forget about you and when you return you'll need to cover gaps in employment with the story to mars. Also good luck getting out of your credit card debt for that long. Unless you're getting paid and someone else can handle your accounts.

    February 28, 2013 at 12:52 am |
    • Cal Newlan

      Perhaps they could find a hermit willing to make the journey. He would neither miss nor be missed. And he wouldn't have any credit card debt, either. Yes, a hermit would be perfect. But they're looking for a couple .... How about two hermits, one male, one female. They could divide the ship down the middle with a curtain and they'd never notice each other.

      February 28, 2013 at 1:16 am |
  51. D

    As long as they will let me telecommute I can talk me GF into it... Yeah totally. I would use vacation time for the time that I would have to do stuff on the surface, but telecommuting would keep me from going insane from boredom when not doing standard checks..

    February 28, 2013 at 12:35 am |
  52. ishiibrad

    I propose my ex-wife and Dr Hannibal Lector !

    February 28, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Bilbo

      What did Hannibal ever do to deserve that?

      February 28, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  53. Tranche-Chair

    This has nothing to do with any search for "knowledge" since robotic probes do that far better. In addition to being quite possibly a death trap for the lucky couple, all they'll get to see in the flyby will come and go in about an hour. I support a full blown NASA mission with a landing, and adequate funding to do the job right. This plan is just a silly stunt, and risky waste of time and money. Leave it to the fat cat "space tourist" if he still wants to go.

    February 28, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • Cal Newlan

      Ah, yes, the "fat cats." The evil 1%.

      February 28, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  54. Joe Boston

    NASA has landed 3 rovers safely on Mars. Paragon Space Development Corp is a Small Business (according to it's website) who makes parts. Have they actually ever managed a mission from the ground to anywhere in space? This probably is a suicide mission but I'm sure they'll find candidates.

    As a side note, they should allow them to bring about 2 pounds of weed. Also make sure the woman is on some form of birth control that only allows her to get her period once every 6 months assuming she is pre-menopause.

    February 27, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Joe Boston

      And – why send anyone all the way to Mars and NOT have them land on it. What a waste of money. I dont care if its private money. Still a waste.

      February 27, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
  55. bro

    zoo in a can

    February 27, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  56. alpinequeen

    This is about as useless as the Apollo 8 mission.

    February 27, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • Bilbo

      Go bag some groceries

      February 28, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  57. Tiffany

    My husband and I would love this experience. We are 26 and 30 unable to have children .. This would be the most amazing thing ever! Ive always wanted to go to space. And spend 501 days with my best friend... Count us in!!!!!

    February 27, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  58. bert f.

    I foresee the affirmation of 'til death do us part' coming into play here.

    February 27, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
  59. Loyal Northern Democrat

    How about the Nazi pope and an alter boy?

    February 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  60. george

    Sign me up!!

    February 27, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  61. helenecha

    Glad to see the advice for the planners that NASA's doctor made. Will the planners have their own special fitness machine designed by the doctor?

    February 27, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
  62. Andrew

    And nay sayers said the private market would never fill the void of NASA...

    February 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  63. helenecha

    Glad to the advice for the planners that NASA's doctor made. Will the planners have their own special fitness machine designed by the doctor?

    February 27, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  64. Loyal Northern Democrat

    I wonder what positions they will try? This beats the MILE HIGH CLUB hands down. I hope she swallows.

    February 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  65. Nico

    Tell them they dreaming. You gota learn to walk before you can run!

    February 27, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  66. Dave

    I've signed my wife up

    February 27, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  67. JJ

    Would they be willing to accept a wife and mother-in-law?

    February 27, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  68. Debster

    Spouse and I are older, out of child-bearing years, and interested. What a literal blast to go into space like that. We'd be playing lots of Scrabble and wearing out the Kindle, I'm sure, with no football, no wine, no restaurants.... 🙂

    February 27, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • bert f.

      "... wearing out the Kindle"

      You're expecting Wi-Fi on the space transport vehicle are you? That Kindle will more appropriately used as a drink coaster.

      February 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  69. Steve

    Every time I read about some dreamers sending people to Mars or to another planet I just shake my head at their naivete. There is talk of even trying to start a settlement on Mars. Well, getting there is the easy part. Does not one of these dreamers think of the human factors involved.

    Before picking the "lucky" space travelers for Mars settlement, let's be sure to put them through the proper tests. Step 1: stick the person/people in a solitary confinement jail cell for a year and feed them nothing but meals from plastic tubes. Whoever comes out saying, "That was fun, can we do it again," it's on to the next step.

    Step 2: Drop them out in the desert for a couple of years in one of those ghosts town in New Mexico or Arizona, not the tourist trap ghost towns, but the ones were everyone put their house up for sale but couldn't find a buyer so they just said "Screw it" and left. No cars allowed, so there is no going into town for a movie or meal every now and then. No TV, no cell phones, no nothing other they what you could stick on something the size of a space shuttle. For the rest of their lives they can get to wherever they can walk to. After two years if they are ready for more, send them to Mars.

    Hopefully the loneliness of Mars won't cause anyone to go stir crazy, everyone will get along just fine and won't kill each other, and if there is a woman involved, hopefully she won't be gang raped too often.

    It all sounds like a good idea until you wrap your thoughts around just how long 561 days in a tin can is (or a lifetime of near isolation on a Mars colony). Instead of getting a married couple, you'd be better off recruiting from the prison population, particularly those who have lived in solitary confinement.

    Other things to consider:
    1) People coming back from the space station have to be taken out of the shuttle in wheel chairs due to the lack of strength to walk from bone mass loss.

    2) Half the space shuttle launches were canned due to malfunctions and repairs, and now a space ship is supposed to last 561 days without something breaking?

    And as for travel to another star or planet outside of our solar system, the fastest spaceship today would take 17,000 years to get to the nearest star. Theoretical spaceships build on technology not even around would take decades at best.

    To the best of my knowledge, nothing worthwhile has ever be gained from the act of being in outer space. There have been no cures to cancer discovered in outer space; nothing to help humans on earth other than to know you lose bone mass when in space. All technical and scientific advancements have come from the act of trying to get there. Other than saying "We went to Mars," there is nothing to be gained.

    February 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Bilbo

      The 'best of your knowledge' isn't enough to grill a cheeseburger.

      February 28, 2013 at 12:54 am |
  70. mark

    Send me, I'm tired of America.

    February 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  71. stephen48739

    I nominate Mr. & Mrs. Donald Trump for the mission.

    February 27, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  72. Steve

    I am excited to see the next cowboy era for space exploration. For all you NASA bashers, NASA has been around since slide rules were hip. Naturally in this time you will have accidents. It is tragic, but people will die when you push the envelope. Lets how SpaceX and the others fair over the next 50 years. Then you can make a judgement.

    February 27, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  73. Sorry

    This will not work. 500 days in space and their bodies will be incapable of supporting them. Even if they did survive the radiation exposure on the journey there, and they successfully land, they would have terrible difficulty moving. This is a publicity stunt. Move along, there is nothing to see here.

    February 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  74. Chuck

    can we make a sugestion of the First Family being sent there?

    February 27, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
  75. Lin McKay

    Can I send my ex and the newest spouse? For years I have suggested he take the next flight to the moon . . . especially when child support is six months behind. Since he 'just forgot' to show up for his daughter's formal wedding I think the trip to Mars suits him well.

    February 27, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Cal Newlan

      Ha Ha! Lin has a screwed up life!

      February 27, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
      • Cal Newlan

        Just kidding, Lin. I was trying to be funny.

        February 28, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  76. Roger

    Shouldn't we first try to send a unmanned mission and bring it back? I believe that was done during the moon mission back in the 60's.

    February 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Stargazer

      Nope all of the lunar flights were manned, none were unmanned. Only the early testing of the Saturn launch vehicles and CSM were unmanned, some flights were just ballistic and some earth orbital.
      There was however one unplanned manned lunar fly-by that turned out to be a triumph in itself!

      February 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  77. Jc

    I would do it in a heartbeat!!! I've had a vasectomy, and my wife and I are not having anymore kids to be the couple that got to fly by mars......unbelievable historical experience.

    February 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
  78. Lucy Morton

    I'll do it for 20 million

    February 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
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