Inspiration Mars Foundation - Inspiration Mars Mission logo.
March 1, 2014
Image above: An artist's conception shows the Inspiration Mars spacecraft making its way around Mars. The stack includes, from left, an Orion-derived re-entry pod, a Cygnus-derived habitat module and a service module for avionics, control and communications. Circular solar arrays provide primary power for vehicle systems.
A private manned Mars flyby mission in 2021 could be an inspiring precursor to landing astronauts on the Red Planet's surface in the not-too-distant future, but much work needs to be accomplished before that goal can become a reality, experts told Congress Thursday (Feb. 27).
Inspiration Mars Mission spacecraft concept
The Inspiration Mars Foundation, led by the world's first space tourist Dennis Tito, aims to launch a pair of adventurous space explorers on a flyby of Mars in just seven years. That 2021 launch target takes advantage of a rare alignment that would allow the astronauts to fly by both Venus and Mars in a single trip (582-days). But to meet that window, Inspiration Mars needs NASA's help. You can watch a video of Congress' Mars flyby 2021 here: http://www.space.com/24856-mars-2021-human-fly-by-public-or-private-congress-questions-video.html
Inspiration Mars Mission concept
The private organization hopes the space agency will provide one of its giant Space Launch System rockets as well as an Orion deep-space capsule — which are both still in development — to fly the mission. The U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space and Technology held the hearing Thursday to discuss how feasible such a Mars flyby in 2021 actually is.
Inspiration Mars Foundation: http://www.inspirationmars.org/
For more information about Inspiration Mars Mission, read the excellent blog post on Space.com: http://www.space.com/24860-private-mars-flyby-2021-congress-nasa.html
Images, Text, Credits: Space.com / Inspiration Mars Foundation.