Image of Mars from Mars Express. Credit: ESA

Image of Mars from Mars Express. Credit: ESA

According to a press release posted on SpaceRef and NASAWatch, Dennis Tito — the first-ever space tourist — is planning to send a human mission to Mars in January 2018 on a round-trip journey lasting 501 days. The trip would be timed to take advantage of the launch ‘window’ when Mars and Earth reach a position in their respective orbits that offers the best trajectory between the two planets.

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Reportedly, Tito has created a new nonprofit company called the Inspiration Mars Foundation to facilitate the mission. The mission is intended to “generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration.”

Tito, along with several other notable people from the space community will provide more information in a press conference set for Wednesday, February 27th. Also at the press conference will be Taber MacCallum and Jane Poynter who were members of the Biosphere-2 project, and who are with the Paragon Space Development Corporation, which creates life-support systems, and Jonathan Clark, a medical researcher at the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, who may discuss the dangers from radiation to humans in deep space. The press conference will be moderated by journalist Miles O’Brien.

Tito paid about $20 million to visit the International Space Station in 2001.

Another endeavor, the Mars One project, wants to create a human settlement on Mars by 2023.

We’ll provide more information when it becomes available.

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Source: Universe Today