Unveiling an insanely ambitious plan, Dennis Tito, Earth's first space tourist, announced a private expedition to Mars in 2018 under the aegis of a new group called the Inspirational Mars Foundation.
The mission intends to “generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration.”
Tito paid around $20 million to visit International Space Station in 2001, though, the costs for the proposed Mars mission hasn't been declared yet. Further details of the project are expected to be released in a press conference in Feb 27. The press event will be attended by two members of the controversial Biosphere 2 project.
The mission is designed to be a 501-day round trip mission with human travellers. It is not to take humans to the surface or an orbital mission, but is a fly-by mission aided by a modified Space-X Dragon capsule and the company's untested Falcon Heavy Rocket.
However, doubts have already emerged about the feasibility of the project—especially considering the tight timeline and huge amounts of money and advanced technology that is required for the success of such a complex project.
According to his foundation:
"This 'Mission for America' will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration. It is intended to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation."