Would you want to go to Mars? Financial tycoon Dennis Tito, who himself took a ride in space on the International Space Station, has unveiled a trip to Mars for husband and wife astronauts to launch within five years. They wouldn’t land on the planet, but come to within 100 miles of the surface of Mars then return. The whole trip would take 16 months in a space capsule half the size of an RV.

What’s interesting is that NASA would not be involved. It would be privately funded at a cost of more than $1 billion. And that’s considered a fraction of what it would cost NASA to do.

The plan would use a private rocket and space capsule – a space capsule that might even be inflatable. It would be pretty cramped and that’s why they’re looking for a husband and wife. They’d have minimal food and clothing and their drinking water would be recycled urine.

The planners admit it would be a huge risk, something NASA would never allow, but they say the orbits of Earth and Mars are coming together as close as they will be in a generation and it’s a chance we shouldn’t miss.

It would be a 501-day mission launching on Jan. 5, 2018, a Mars flyby on Aug. 20, 2018, and a return to Earth on May 21, 2019. A technical outline of how they plan to do it will be released next month.

The chief technical officer is Taber MacCallum who spent two years in Biosphere 2, a closed living space on Earth that was meant to test how people would hold up on a long space flight. He could be one of the crew members on the trip.

A Stanford University professor says it’s technically possible, but they haven’t released a whole lot of details to determine whether it could be successful.

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