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back to article Space tourist Dennis Tito begs US to BANKROLL HIS manned Mars flyby

Multi-millionaire investment manager, and world's first space tourist, Dennis Tito has been testifying before the US Congress about his plans for a 501-day trip around Mars and back. He says he'll need government money to meet the planned schedule of a 2018 launch. On Wednesday, Tito published plans to send an older couple, …

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Unhappy

What a silly thing to do

NASA has no reason to waste money on that.

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Re: What a silly thing to do

Exactly. NASA get far more bang for the buck with the unmanned probe programme they already have. Tito ought to go & read Cervantes instead of Robert Heinlein.

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Bronze badge

Re: What a silly thing to do

As I recall, when the Apollo 8 decision was made, they decided right up front that a simple flyby wouldn't have been worth the risk or effort, and that if they were going to all the work to do a lunar flight, they should go ahead and do a lunar orbital mission since they were going to have to test their service module engine for the return trip, anyway... not to mention all the deep-space navigation systems and such.

But, yeah... hell, if you're going to go to all the risk and effort to get your ship to Mars, you might as well spend at least a couple of weeks in orbit and do some recon photography, drop a few atmospheric probes, do some radar mapping and meteorology... you know, get some actual work done instead of "whoa, cool, check that out -- d'ahh, hell, it's over.".

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Anonymous Coward

501 days of fun..

I-spy....

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Happy

Re: 501 days of fun..

Minnie: "I spy with my little eye something beginning with 's'."

Henry: "Space"

Minnie: "No"

Henry: "Space"

Minnie: "Yes. OK, it's your turn now."

Henry: "Hold on, Min, I have to go and top up the radiation shield."

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Re: 501 days of fun..

+1 for the Goons reference.

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Bronze badge

Re: 501 days of fun..

+1 for the shit reference.

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Gold badge
Thumb Down

No real upside to NASA, lots of cash from the govt. So Uncle Sam does the hardware.

Who makes the cash?

I think the Legislature may find this "offer" quite resistible.

It's like a "Flags & footprints" mission.

Without the footprints.

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s/almost//

T,FIFY.

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Even as a life long devotee of manned spaceflight who spent a Saturday in 1969 watching a BBC transmission of Apollo 11's Saturn V on the pad and one of who's first books was 'The Observer Book of Manned Spaceflight' (still got it - 50p) and who has a variety of NASA provided signed photos of astronauts and will talk the hind wheels off a Zabriskan Fontema about the subject I have to nonetheless state that this idea is LUDICROUS!

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Trollface

Older couple? WHAT? Nooooo!

What they need to do is send a young kid instead - equipped with a large flat-screen, some single-player equivalent of Call of Duty, a bittorent client and a decent Internet connection. When he eventually gets there the only reaction will be "...what? Already?!?" Also, I suspect the muscle atrophication will be undetectable vs. the control group left here on Earth.

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Re: Older couple? WHAT? Nooooo!

I wouldn't want to be around when they find out about the 20 minute lag.

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A Wasteful Stunt

Sending a couple of human beings to orbit around Mars and return is a waste of resources even if it is private money. Far better things could be done with that kind of money to benefit mankind instead just allowing a guy to make a name for himself. If he wants to invest in space exploration, maybe he could build schools to produce more scientists that build robots, energy systems, water purification technologies that are needed to do the exploration. Much of the technology needed to settle other worlds is also needed to solve human needs on this world. Our plans to do this exploration should be tied directly improving the human condition.

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Re: A Wasteful Stunt

The biggest human need on this world is to make other worlds available as backup. At the moment we have all our eggs in one basket. There is *nothing* more important than human space-missions.

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Re: A Wasteful Stunt

Bull. Robotic terraforming of other worlds is worth 1000x any manned mission. We should be taming these worlds for our use. Starting with a permanent installation on Ceres to provide fuel for our ships.

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WTF?

Re: A Wasteful Stunt

"Sending a couple of human beings to orbit around Mars and return is a waste of resources even if it is private money"

Not really if it's private money that's people's personal choice.

But when it's "Oh by the way Congress, could you get NASA to let us have an SLS for this little jaunt? Thanx"

WTF's that about?

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Re: A Wasteful Stunt

Well said, an excellent answer to the old "we could better spend that money on Earth" wheeze -- especially when you consider the actual percentage of the US annual budget spent on space exploration, something like 2%, or something ridiculous like that, the last time I looked.

There are all sorts of valid reasons that can be used to justify sending humans into space, and to other worlds, but I think the one that's not nearly emphasized enough is that it should be a biological imperative, something which could insure the survival of humanity if something catastrophic should happen to Earth. Even if we take the best care possible of the natural environment, hug the trees and all that jazz, it could only take one good hit from an errant asteroid to instantly trash the whole thing for us.

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Why not ask India?

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Any relevant biological research would be better done in LEO. So what scientific or engineering constraint requires that the married couple be mixed gender?

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Facepalm

Tito says it's imperative America makes the trip before somebody else does.

Why?

And just to cap it off, it turns out his Big IdeaTM id just that, An idea. He's got no launch facilities, no orbital facilities, no flight vehicle, not even a recycling system, so he wants his Govt.to pay for all that. Not sell or rent it to him, but give it to him. Meanwhile, as a "private/pubic partnership, guess who gets to sell all the video and merchandising rights.

I just had a great idea. Big glass submarine tours of the Titanic. The technology already exists, it just needs a bit of development and someone else to pay for it all and I'l be rich, rich! I tells ya, RICH! And, of course, it's IMPERATIVE that some big Govt.funds it all now to be FIRST!!!11!!1!

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Joke

Actually with the plenty of wool passing the time will not be a problem

Wrinklies (Seniors + wool) x Time --> lots of knitwear

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Anonymous Coward

Re. Mars mission

A lot could be learned this way, I'm all for this to go ahead.

Being able to control the rovers without that huge time lag at least for a month or two would allow much more useful science to be done, and also a suitably timed sample return could be tagged on with far less hassle.

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Unhappy

Tito's pitch. Mars version of Apollo 8 for about $700m of NASA money.

Sounds a bargain.

Except.

It puts NASA and SLS in their critical path.

For a launch in early 2018 < 1 year after SLS's 1st launch.

Next shot is in 15 years, or a 551day launch in 2021.

Plausible?

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Re: Tito's pitch. Mars version of Apollo 8 for about $700m of NASA money.

Well, not exactly Apollo 8. See my previous comment up the thread a ways, about the Apollo 8 decision -- basically, that a mere flyby/free-return flight would be a waste of time and effort, and that an orbital mission would be more useful for many reasons.

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