Inspiration Mars Foundation
"Send Two People, Take Everyone"
|Type||501(c)(3) (pending, as of April 2013[update])|
|Founded||January 25, 2013|
|Key people||Dennis Tito
|Mission||2018 Manned Mars Flyby|
|Motto||"Now is the Time"|
The foundation claims that space exploration provides a catalyst for growth, national prosperity, knowledge and global leadership. By taking advantage of this window of opportunity, the Inspire Mars Foundation intends to revitalize interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
The planned private, nonprofit mission is a 501-day free-return mission which will allow the spacecraft to use the smallest possible amount of fuel to get it to Mars and back to Earth. "If anything goes wrong, the spacecraft should make its own way back to Earth — but with no possibility of any short-cuts home."
In 2018, the planets will align, offering a unique orbit opportunity to travel to Mars and back to Earth in only 501 days. Inspiration Mars intends to send a two-person American crew – a man and a woman – on a journey within 100 miles around Mars and return to Earth safely.
The mission's target launch date is 5 January 2018. This quick, free-return orbit opportunity occurs twice every 15 years. After 2018, the next opportunity will not occur again until 2031. By using state-of-the-art technologies derived from NASA and the International Space Station, Inspiration Mars intends to use this opportunity as a unique platform for science, engineering and STEM education. The science objectives of the mission focus on human endurance and psychology where the mission would set new precedents in human space exploration.
A Mars flyby architecture lowers risk, with no critical propulsive maneuvers, no entry into the Mars atmosphere, and no rendezvous and docking. It also represents the shortest duration roundtrip mission to Mars. The 2018 launch opportunity coincides with the 11-year solar minimum providing the lowest solar radiation exposure. The next launch opportunity for this mission (2031) will not have the advantage of being at the solar minimum.
Mission technical details 
According to a peer-reviewed paper prepared by Dennis Tito and a group of coauthors for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), "the mission would require no maneuvers except small course corrections after a trans-Martian injection burn, [and] would allow no aborts. ... [It will] use low-Earth-orbit launch and human-spacecraft technology, outfitted for the long duration of a flight to Mars. The 10-ton crew vehicle—a capsule to best handle the reentry heat and an inflatable or rigid habitat—would contain all of the [life support system or ECLSS] and other gear the crew would need to stay alive. That would include 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) of dehydrated food, exercise equipment to mitigate the effects of long-term weightlessness, and compact equipment derived from International Space Station gear to recycle water and maintain the atmosphere. There would be no spacesuits or airlock, and the crew would have to endure the travel in about 600 cubic feet (17 m3) of volume."
Crew selection 
The foundation is expecting a large number of applications to be the crew for the mission. The mission will, by definition be record-setting in terms of traveling farther into space than any human has before, and remain in space longer than anyone before. The married couple who is selected will need to "be resilient, even-keel, and able to maintain a happy attitude in the face of adversity", as well as face some health challenges. The year and a half of microgravity will weaken their bodies, and there will be a strong dose of radiation which is expected to elevate their risk for cancer by about three percent, a risk individuals would have to voluntarily accept.
As of April 2013[update], hundreds of "couples who have qualifications that would put them in the running" have offered their services for the mission. Much of the initial development work in the early months of the project will be "going to experts in space medicine, life support and thermal protection systems as the team defines the mission. The process includes devising medical, crew-selection and crew-training protocols." The formal call for crew applicants will go out no earlier than 2014.
Some time before the press conference to publicly announce the venture on 27 February 2013, a number of space industry insiders and journalists were given access to some information about the IEEE research paper that would be presented in early March to provide technical details on the feasibility study behind a human crewed free-return mission of 501 days duration in the Mars transfer window of 2018.
On 27 February 2013, the Inspiration Mars Foundation held a press conference in the National Press Club to announce the plan of the foundation to procure space hardware, buy launch vehicle services, select a two-person crew of a married couple (explicitly one man and one woman to represent all of humanity and inspire young persons of both sexes to dream big and pursue science and technology in their schooling), and then attempt to raise the rest of the funding necessary to actually launch a mission in 2018. Philanthropist Dennis Tito is going to fund the foundation on the order of $100 million for its first couple of years of operation.
The mission will be funded through the non-profit foundation status that Inspiration Mars has in the United States. Dennis Tito will fund the foundation's cost for the first "two years from his own deep pockets" The total cost of the mission is projected to be between US$1 and US$2 billion, less than the US$2,500,000,000 that NASA is spending on the Mars Science Laboratory robotic rover mission to Mars, including the two years of surface operations via Earth-control of the Curiosity rover. The foundation will "raise funds from industry, individuals and others willing to make philanthropic donations".
There are a number of organizations and businesses considering a "potential partnership with Inspiration Mars Foundation centered around the 2018 mission", including the National Geographic Society.
Critics, including the science correspondent of The Economist, have questioned the viability of the plan given the problems of dealing with radiation exposure, and ensuring the safe return of the astronauts given the high re-entry speed required by the flight profile. Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, said that although he thought the mission was "doable" with today's technologies, the funding necessary to complete the mission was unlikely to be forth-coming: "I give them a 1-in-3 chance, but not for the technical reasons. It's a question of can they raise the money".
Foundation management team 
- Jonathan Clark, chief medical officer
- Taber MacCallum, chief technical officer
- Jane Poynter, developer of the crew and life-support systems
- Joe Rothenberg, chairman of the advisory and review boards
- John Carrico, Jr., flight dynamics and trajectory design.
See also 
- Inspiration Mars Wants To Use ISS, NASAwatch, 15 April 2013
- Borenstein, Seth (27 February 2013). "Tycoon wants to send married couple on Mars flyby". Excite. Associated Press. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Boucher, Marc (20 February 2013). "The First Human Mission to Mars in 2018 (Updated)". SpaceRef. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Boyle, Alan. "How a millionaire spaceflier intends to send astronauts past Mars in 2018". Cosmic Log (NBCNews.com). Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Mann, Adam (20 February 2013). "Space Tourist to Announce Daring Manned Mars Voyage for 2018". Wired. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Sonnenberg, Max (23 February 2013). "Millionaire space tourist planning ‘historic journey’ to Mars in 2018". The Space Reporter. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Belfiore, Michael (27 February 2013). "The Crazy Plan to Fly Two Humans to Mars in 2018". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Connor, Steve (26 February 2013). "The millionaire Dennis Tito and his mission to Mars". The Independent. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- Morring, Frank, Jr. (2013-03-04). "Serious Intent About 2018 Human Mars Mission". Aviation Week and Space Technology. Retrieved 2013-03-07.
- Moskowitz, Clara (28 February 2013). "Private Mission to Mars in 2018: Who Should Go?". space.com. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- Morring, Frank (2013-04-12). "Volunteers Line Up For Tito's Mars Flyaround". Aviation Week. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
- Koebler, Jason (2013-03-01). "Expert: Dennis Tito's Mars Flyby Has '1-in-3' Chance of Succeeding". US News. Retrieved 2013-03-07. "At a news conference in Washington, D.C., Tito said he's tired of waiting for NASA to send humans to Mars, and that he'd help finance the between $1 and $2 billion needed to complete the mission."
- Kaufman, Marc (27 February 2013). "Manned Mars Mission Announced by Dennis Tito Group". National Geographic News. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
- TC (Feb 27th 2013). ": Dennis Tito's mission to Mars: Martian dreams". The Economist. Retrieved 2013-04-30. "there is a host of unresolved questions. Radiation is one"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Inspiration Mars|
- Official website
- Facebook: 'Inspiration Mars' page
- Twitter: @InspirationMars
- Flickr: Inspiration Mars photo stream
- Earth/Mars/IM capsule 501-day mission orbital position animation, Inspiration Mars Foundation, February 2013.
- Feasibility Analysis
- Introductory Press Conference, 27 February 2013
- Inspiration Mars: 29th National Space Symposium: panel discussion, Dennis Tito, Taber MacCallum, Jonathan Clark, and Jane Poynter, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 11 April 2013.