First Manned Mission To Mars; Date And Details Announced

By Staff Writer | February 27, 2013 02:58 PM EST

One person has their calendar marked for January 5, 2018. This person has that date circled as the official manned mission launch to Mars.

Millionare Dennis Tito has an obsession with space travel. He has vowed for this mission to Mars to take place on that exact date.

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Tito is the brains behind The Inspiration Mars Foundation and on the foundation's website; it says why Jan 5, 2018 has to be the launching date for the first manned mission to the red planet.

"In 2018, the planets will literally align, offering a unique orbit opportunity to travel to Mars and back to Earth in only 501 days. Inspiration Mars is committed to sending a two-person American crew - a man and a woman - on an historic journey to fly within 100 miles around the Red Planet and return to Earth safely.

The mission's target launch date is Jan. 5, 2018. This exceptionally quick, free-return orbit opportunity occurs twice every 15 years. After 2018, the next opportunity won't occur again until 2031. The mission will provide a platform for unprecedented science, engineering and education opportunities, using state-of-the-art technologies derived from NASA and the International Space Station. It will be financed primarily through philanthropic donations, with some potential support from government sources."

"This will be a Lewis and Clark mission to Mars," Taber MacCallum, chief executive officer and chief technology officer for space development company Paragon and one of the scientists working on the Inspiration Mars told Fox News.

No names in particular have been announced to take flight in this historic mission. Tito said no chance he will be one of the lucky two to take orbit.

"I will not be one of the crew members. And if I were 30 years younger, I still would not be," Tito told members of the press at a Wednesday event to announce the mission.

This opportunity will go to well trained, younger astronauts.

Details, according to include:

  •  Modified capsule dispatched from Earth orbit with a single Mars trajectory burn
  •  Launch vehicle based on existing or evolving vehicles currently in use or development
  •  Additional maneuvers will only consist of minor course corrections, using the gravitational influence of Mars to "slingshot" the vehicle onto a return course to Earth
  •  Inflatable habitat module will deploy after launch and detach prior to re-entry
  •  Closed-loop life support and operational components will be located inside the vehicle, designed for simplicity and "hands-on" maintenance and repair

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