It looks like my options to go on a mission to Mars have expanded. But to take full advantage of this latest opportunity, I’m going to have to convince my wife.
In January, I made public my desire to try to qualify to be a Mars colonist. A group based in The Netherlands called Mars One is looking for pioneers.
I think I made a pretty good case for myself. You can read about it here but the Cliff’s Notes version is this: I live so far away from my job in Washington, D.C. that my co-workers already think I’m from Mars. Plus, I actually saw the Mars flop “John Carter” in the theater and liked it, despite the critics.
Now, space tourist and financier Dennis Tito, the man who paid the Russians $20-million to let him tag along on a trip to the International Space Station back in 2001, is looking for a couple of explorers for his Inspiration Mars mission.
He revealed a tight schedule in a press conference last week.
A blast off date is set for January, 2018.
It’s a hard date having to do with planetary alignment. Otherwise, the group says it will have to wait 15 years for the planets to give the mission another window of opportunity.
Besides, Tito says he doesn’t want to wait until the mid-2030s for a possible NASA mission. He says it’s about inspiring kids, the next generation to reach for the heavens.
Tito’s plans aren’t as ambitious as attempting to plant a permanent human outpost on Mars, but anything having to do with the Red Planet is ambitious enough.
He’s looking for a man and a woman, preferably a middle-aged married couple, to blast off on a 501-day, 140-million mile journey. And, while Mars One says its colonists won’t be coming back, Tito says his mission will return to Earth after orbiting the Red Planet. The couple chosen to go will never set foot on Mars, but at least they’ll get closer than any other human has ever gotten as they whiz by and then use the planet’s gravity to slingshot back home.
One of the scientists working with Tito likened it to a “Lewis and Clark mission.”
Tito’s group doesn’t have a spacecraft and he readily acknowledges that he doesn’t yet have the money to finance the trip.
But he’s got five years.
It’ll take me at least that long to persuade my wife that spending well over a year cooped up in the close confines of a small spacecraft with no shower and little to do but dream about a home-cooked meal and a cold beer is a good idea.
If I work hard enough at it, though, I think she can be convinced. After all, she’s already put up with me for more than 20 years. That alone should be enough to prove to Tito’s group that she can cope with no one else to look at for long periods of time.
There is just one thing I can think of that could be a deal-breaker for my wife and that’s dairy. Too much milk makes me a little gassy. The Inspiration Mars spacecraft is going to smell bad enough by the time it gets back.
Other than that, how could she possibly refuse?