US tycoon plans to send couple on Mars flyby mission in 2018
Washington - US tycoon and first space tourist Dennis Tito revealed plans Wednesday to send a couple on a 501-day journey for a flyby mission to Mars in 2018 in an attempt to inspire future generations and revitalize American science.Tito sees the privately funded mission called Inspiration Mars Foundation as a great American undertaking, but he avoided giving any details about the expenses involved and where the money would come form.
"If you have a good idea, you can raise money for it. "It’s not that difficult," said Tito, 72, who became the world’s first space tourist in 2001 using about 20 million dollars of his own money for a trip to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz space craft.
The mission taking a couple - preferably married - on a flyby just 100 miles (164 kilometres) from the surface of Mars will use the constellation and gravitational power of the planets to bounce the ship back to Earth after orbiting Mars.//DPA