Inspiration Mars Foundation: Dennis Tito is Looking For a Couple to Send to the Red Planet

Nine months ago, when MarsOne founder Bas Lansdorp first announced that the company was going to put people on Mars by 2023, the idea seemed outlandish. Consequently, he and MarsOne faced general skepticism and some glaring criticism from the collective internet. Since then, a handful of private organizations with the intent to travel to Mars have cropped up. And, while their specific goals range from flybys to colonization, they are all pursuing a common goal: the first human journey to Mars.

The most recent of these to make headlines is the Inspiration Mars Foundation headed by millionaire space tourist Dennis Tito. Tito wants to send two people on a round trip to and from Mars. Inspiration Mars’ spacecraft will not actually land on the surface, however.  The Foundation’s craft intends to take advantage of an approximately once-every-fifteen-years aligning of Mars and Earth that will allow a launched craft to orbit Mars before using Mars’ gravity well to slingshot back to Earth.

If anything can be said about the mission with certainty, it is that it will be relatively dangerous. This isn’t just a mission to moon; aside from the health risks that we’re already aware of (including an extended stay in microgravity and radiation exposure) I’d bet that there are some unknowns that are impossible to account for. For example, the emotional integrity of the two-person crew will be paramount. Past experiments have taught us that isolation in any environment can create volatility. It would be difficult to imagine a worse scenario than a two person crew angry at one another and millions of miles away from home, in a place where you literally cannot take walk outside for a breath of fresh air or to alleviate cabin fever. All this and we haven’t even yet considered the relative incompatibility of space travel and human circadian rhythms. Talk about a recipe for a breakdown!

With these risks in mind, Tito is currently looking for a married couple a man and a woman to embark on the mission.  This arrangement makes sense on several levels: first, a married couple would be much more capable of dealing with the relative isolation of the journey. Jane Poynter, a member of the Inspiration Mars team and president of Paragon Space Development Corporation, offered a great second point: a male/female couple would be ideal because it would best represent humanity. 

Applicant couples will be rigorously tested to ensure that they can deal with the realities of the mission. In an attempt to mitigate the inherent risks of the mission, the IMF will be placing a premium on the ability to handle isolation, a level head, and a positive disposition in the face of danger or ambiguity.

Personally, I’d be infinitely more willing to be involved with the second, third, or even fourth manned mission to Mars. Given the history of the space program, being one of the first few to attempt the endeavor seems a little too risky for me.  

So now that you understand the risks, how about it? Are you up for a journey to Mars?

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Brett Ryan

Brett studied Business and Political Science at Brigham Young University-Idaho. Brett loves technology and is passionate about how the internet can be used to drive economic and political change. Currently, he works as a search engine analyst. He is preparing to apply for business schools in the near future. He's not above discussing sensitive or difficult issues, loves conversation and learning, and expresses his views, generally, in an effort to understand first and be understood second. Above all, he enjoys learning and he'll be your friend regardless of who you voted for.

MORE FROM

Meet the Girl Scouts that will earn badges for being cybersecurity experts

They'll soon get badges for coding, cryptography and more.

How to use the Snapchat Map while everyone else continues to be confused about it

Everything you need to know about the new feature.

Planet 10? Scientists may have discovered a hidden planet in our solar system

There could be a ninth — or even 10th — planet hiding out in our solar system.

Scientists created a robot that will iron your clothes for you

Shut up and take my money.

Moth eyes have inspired the touchscreen of the future

It's going to change the anti-reflection game.

Twitter was flagging tweets including the word "queer" as potentially "offensive content"

Why Twitter put the word "queer" in the same category as violent, sexual imagery.

Meet the Girl Scouts that will earn badges for being cybersecurity experts

They'll soon get badges for coding, cryptography and more.

How to use the Snapchat Map while everyone else continues to be confused about it

Everything you need to know about the new feature.

Planet 10? Scientists may have discovered a hidden planet in our solar system

There could be a ninth — or even 10th — planet hiding out in our solar system.

Scientists created a robot that will iron your clothes for you

Shut up and take my money.

Moth eyes have inspired the touchscreen of the future

It's going to change the anti-reflection game.

Twitter was flagging tweets including the word "queer" as potentially "offensive content"

Why Twitter put the word "queer" in the same category as violent, sexual imagery.