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back to article Squillionaire space tourist offers oldsters a holiday to Mars

A new organisation led by Dennis Tito - the world's first space tourist - wants to send an older couple on an all-expenses-paid 501-day trip to Mars. Artist's impression of the Inspiration Mars spacecraft How the Inspiration Mars spacecraft could look Mega-rich engineer Tito announced yesterday that his Inspiration …

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Reason for an older couple?

I presume the reasoning for an older, married couple is that the woman will manage to talk for the whole journey satisfying her need to waffle on and the man will keep his sanity by feigning interest/deafness?

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Happy

Re: Reason for an older couple?

Do Guinness currently have a world record for the number of times one man has said, "yes dear", over a 17 month period...

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DJV
Mushroom

Re: Reason for an older couple?

I nominate David Cameron and Nick Clegg... or aren't they old enough yet?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reason for an older couple?

Married couple locked in a capsule for 500+ days...

I hope they supply plenty of fluids and viagra....

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Unhappy

Re: Reason for an older couple?

I asked Brigitte and at first, she thought I was joking, then NO! (please imagine double underline, italic and a much bigger font). I suppose I was unsurprised, and will console myself with the thought that they probably wouldn't have accepted us anyway....

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Re: Reason for an older couple?

thats wrong on so many levels. if you're worried about space madness then you should not send extrovert people in a first place (they wouldn't be married otherwise). what you need is introvert people who are capable of dealing with solitude over extended periods of time. not many are because people are extensively conditioned into socializing right from birth.

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Re: Reason for an older couple?

http://newsthump.com/2013/02/28/cameron-and-clegg-perfect-couple-for-mars-mission-insists-everyone/

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Re: Reason for an older couple?

In space no one can hear you nag.

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Childcatcher

Re: Reason for an older couple?

Woman: I thought we would go to Mars. It will only take 500 days

Man: Yes dear. That's great (saves me from going to your Ma's for 500 days. Whoo! Whoo!)

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I wonder how many men will nominate their Mother in Law....

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@Sir Barry

"I wonder how many men will nominate their Mother in Law...."

Wow. You want to spend seventeen months in a capsule with your mother in law? Obviously if she's Helen Mirren then many will applaud you, but otherwise we may question your sanity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Sir Barry

Just a guess but I think the poster intended the mother in law and her husband as a way of getting rid of her for a bit. Not to go themselves as an extended bonding session

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FAIL

Re: @a/c

*WHOOOSH*

It's amazing how some people can miss such an obvious joke.

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Re: @a/c

In space, no one can hear you *WHOOOSH*

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Re: @Sir Barry

Just a guess, but I think that was tongue-in-cheek.

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Not for me..

Honestly, who would spend that long a time in something that looks like a bedroom appliance?

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Re: Not for me..

I would. What an amazing opportunity.

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Re: Not for me..

You do realise that it would be fitted out with cameras. ("Day 500 in the Big Brother Spaceship...") Also, given the deliberate simplicity of the mission, you'd hardly get any of the credit for the mission. Rather, you'd go down in history as being the most sex-crazed and shameless couple in human history.

I'll pass, thanks, but I might tune in for some of the later episodes.

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Re: Not for me..

"Rather, you'd go down in history as being the most sex-crazed and shameless couple in human history."

Sooooooo - Madonna and who else? Bill Clinton is (amazingly still) married.... Charlie Sheen, perhaps?

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Re: Not for me..

Don't care. I don't care about the credit, I don't care about anything except going in to space. Wouldn't even care if it killed me, or if I didn't return. I just want to be out THERE.

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Re: Not for me..

Does anyone else thank that any man whose wife says "Yes" to this is lucky beyond all telling?

I don't often resent my wife, but just at the moment I really do.

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Meh....without the actual landing bit, it seems to be a flawed idea and more about space endurance which you could do in orbit.

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Go

Wrong...

Wrong the idea is about showing that we can get to and fly past Mars without any major technologies beyond what we have today. Once something like that is done, it would hopefully lead to performing incremental updates which would allow landing on say Phoebus first, then maybe entering orbit around Mars, and finally landing on Mars.

Normally, once something is shown to be able to be done, humans jump at the opportunity to take it further (sea exploration, flight, computing, etc.), but for some reason manned space travel never followed that same path, maybe this will be the rocket up the bum of civilisation that gets us moving in that direction!

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Space endurance? Relationship endurance, more like.

But I'm disappointed the Reg missed the opportunity for a real bout of Finbarr Saunders. At least the lucky couple will resolve the paucity of knowledge concerning doing the wild thing in zero gravity. Hopefully the ships thrusters can make sure the ship isn't knocked off course. Build a special small port on the side of the ship, and the chap can experiment with vacuum enlargement, etc etc

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Cost...

The fuel and or mechanisms to enter orbit, lander, survival crap etc. All add weight and resulting launch costs.

Doing a flyby for under 20t might be feasible.

Landing mission you're probably looking at >50t for one way and >200t for return.

This is just a pod and enough fuel, oxygen, food and other sundries to last 2 years.

SpaceX launch costs are around $2000/lb, so you're looking at, as a min, an extra $133m for the one way lander, and $800m for the return mission. That is just launch costs not developing any of the systems.

2 years playing [insert generic popular console] in zero g. I'm sure there'll be applicants.

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plus we have no practical method of radiation shielding once we are outside our own magnetosphere. Even the spacestation isnt perfect. There are a few lab ideas but not to the scale of a habitation module.

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Happy

"plus we have no practical method of radiation shielding once we are outside our own magnetosphere. Even the spacestation isnt perfect. There are a few lab ideas but not to the scale of a habitation module."

Apart from using a large bag of water and polythene for shielding

And launching at the minimum stage of the solar sun spot cycle (which is what they are targeting)

And the possibilities of using radioprotective additives to the atmosphere in the capsule.

And the possibilities for similar work on food.

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Pint

Don't you have to drink red wine, in order to mitigate radiation exposure. I can't remember why now, but I believe it was one of the things carried on nuclear subs.

In which case, I might reconsider my decision not to sign up. Just think, 17 months of wine every day, all the computer games you can play, and no phone calls offering you PPI refunds or trying to get you to change your energy tariff. Also, no customers. Of course there's the risk of dying horribly, and alone, and on telly. But for 17 months off from talking to customers I reckon I'll risk it.

Shame to go all that way and not go out for a walk when you get there though. But I did once go all the way to Edinburgh to make a delivery and came back without stopping for more time than it took to buy a cup of coffee and go to the loo. No difference really...

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Re: Wrong...

"but for some reason manned space travel never followed that same path"

I think that has a lot to do with the fact that just getting into space is way, way more dangerous than sea exploration, flight, computing, etc. On average, 1 out of every 67 space shuttles blew up. Would you get on an airplane if 1 in 70 ended in a fireball? Not to mention we find incredibly useful things via terrestrial exploration. Until we haul a million ton, platinum asteroid into orbit, I fail to see any benefit from going into space. Granted, technologies that are developed trying to get there can be valuable.

The penguin will never make it higher than 20m AGL, without a rocket attached to its back, either...

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Thumb Down

Re: Wrong...

How many ships were lost at sea through the early millenia of human exploration? I guarantee it would be more than 1 in 70. How many of the early attempts to fly a plane across the Atlantic were lost? A lot more than 1 in 70.

Humankind is used to taking risks in the name of exploration. Loss of life is always tragic but without that adventurous spirit we would still be sitting up in the trees, scratching ourselves and picking the fleas out of each others fur...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong...

"without that adventurous spirit we would still be sitting up in the trees, scratching ourselves and picking the fleas out of each others fur..."

Sitting in trees sounds terribly dangerous !

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Re: Wrong...

I would suspect that the problem with a Mission to Mars isn't getting there, surviving the trip and all that. We could do that with technology available to us today!

The real challenge for a trip to Mars involving a landing... is the return trip. We can get to Mars, we can land on Mars... but landing on Mars with something that would allow you to subsequently take off again and come back home... THAT is the real challenge.

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Re: Wrong...

With all the multiple redundancies they had in the Apollo program, they were still stuck with using the same engine and fuel tank on the lander that was going to get them off again. And they were pretty damned nervous when it came to launching back off the moon that the engine wouldn't fire.

Not helped by the fact that the landing went right down to the wire on fuel - due to the radar glitch. I assume that what would have happened if they'd gone over wouldn't be running out, and going splat into the moon, but would have been not having enough to get back to orbit to rendezvous with the command and service modules - hence no way home. Then poor Michael Collins would have had to say bye-bye guys, and flown off and left them.

Fortunately they made up for lack of redundancy by doing lots and lots and lots of testing.

And to think that in the 1970s my Dad had to take his spark plugs out and dry them in the oven, in order to get his engine to start on a cold morning...

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Headmaster

Re: Wrong...

I think you mean Phobos - Phoebus is the sun.

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Happy

@I ain't Spartacus

Don't you have to drink red wine, in order to mitigate radiation exposure. I can't remember why now, but I believe it was one of the things carried on nuclear subs.

For that excuse many thanks!

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I'd volunteer

But I'm not sure the missus would last that long without the opportunity to buy new shoes...

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Re: I'd volunteer

She can buy all the shoes she wants - there'll be oodles of time for online shopping. Admittedly the sites might load a bit slowly, and delivery could be an issue. But just think of the piles and piles of packages waiting for her when she gets back.

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Re: I'd volunteer

Shoes? Me & the missus would spend most of that time naked... they had better ensure that everything is water proof...

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Happy

Re: I'd volunteer

NEWS HEADLINES:

First couple to fly to Mars drown in shock accident. Sources close to the mission today said, "we wish we'd picked the mad shoe-buying couple now."

In other news after the death of the new Pope last month, Boris Johnson has been selected as the new Pontiff by the Council of Cardinals. Pope Boris I said that he was delighted by the news and was hoping to play whiff-whaff in St Peters as quickly as possible.

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Trollface

Re: I'd volunteer

But, by then they'd surly be outta fashion or?

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happening during the 11-year solar minimum

I thought 2013 was the peak of the cycle.

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Re: happening during the 11-year solar minimum

"If Inspiration Mars misses the 2018 window, it won't get another chance at a free-return Martian expedition until 2031."

So ... not this year

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Pint

Re: happening during the 11-year solar minimum

"I thought 2013 was the peak of the cycle."

Thus making 2018 near the bottom of the 11-year (half) cycle.

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FAIL

Re: happening during the 11-year solar minimum

"If Inspiration Mars misses the 2018 window, it won't get another chance at a free-return Martian expedition until 2031."

Bullshit. There are an infinite number of chances at a free-return Martian expedition between 2018 and 2031, they can launch any time they like. It'll just mean a longer journey when the planetary alignment is sub-ideal.

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Can I nominate ...

... Francis Maude and Martha Lane Fox?

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Rob
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Go

Re: Can I nominate ...

As long as we can ask Anon to hack the guidance system and redirect it to the sun.

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Stop

How have they solved the radiation shielding issue? Graphite sandwiches was the last attempt and wasnt too great from the very few papers available.

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Coat

Graphite sandwiches

Not very tasty either I suspect, though I imagine Heston Blumenthal could do something creative with them.

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Trollface

Just spike them with a bit of horse.

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Happy

Round trip?

Who fancies an all-expenses-paid 501-day trip?

It's not clear if it's one way or not.

If it is one way...tricky, as there's so many deserving candidates needing one, and I doubt i could fit the entire house of parliment in the capsule.

Round trip? I vote...myself.

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