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Married couple sought for millionaire's Mars mission

The two travellers will live and work in an inflatable habitat module. (Inspiration Mars Foundation)

A U.S. business tycoon told the media yesterday that he hopes to send a middle-aged married couple on an adventure of a lifetime - specifically, the pair would be rocketed into space for a Mars fly-by mission.

Dennis Tito, chair of the non-profit organization Inspiration Mars Foundation, said he would like the 501-day mission to launch in 2018.  The chosen couple would loop around the red planet in a 17-cubic metre living space.

The foundation said that they prefer a married couple because passengers aboard the spacecraft will go through adversity and will need support. They have also said that it is important that the passengers be a man and a woman so that both boys and girls will see themselves reflected in the crew and be inspired.

The living space will provide very few creatures comforts. The couple will breathe recycled oxygen, drink water recycled from their sweat and urine, eat food rehydrated with that water and not shower.

The CBC community found the idea of a couple being confined to small living quarters for a
year a half amusing.

  • "A man and a woman, locked in a little space car, with no cable TV or beer store, for a 501-day road trip... hooo-boy, glad it ain't me.

    And you just know they'll get lost for a bit, he won't look at the map and she won't be able to ask anybody ... sounds like about 499 days of silent treatment to me," said

  • "If it is a married couple that is sent, the biggest problem won't be Mars itself but communications between Mars and Venus," said phanatic.

  • "A married couple on a 501-day mission? Well that leaves the typical Hollywood couple out," said phanatic.
The foundation's search for one man and one woman also ruffled some feathers. A few readers in the CBC community used this statement as a platform to further the discussion of same-sex marriage.

  • "Read the first line s-l-o-w-l-y.
    The article states VERY CLEARLY that they intend to launch a man and a woman to orbit the planet and return to earth," said drfess.
And, there were a few suggestions on who to launch off the planet for 501 days.

  • "Send Conrad Black, Harper, Baird, and Rob Ford as the first voyagers," said Sentient Humans."I nominate Sheldon and Amy for the trip," said olwylee.

But, for the most part, readers wondered about practical elements of such an extreme space voyage.

  • "I wonder if their bone density will be able to handle Earth's gravity when they get back. That is one of the problems with zero gravity," said tacksman.

  • "Suicide mission at best. If they don't die during the voyage, they won't live long after returning," said Syrupmaker.

  • "Getting to the Moon took three major programs (Mercury, Gemini, Apollo), 400,000 workers, more than $24 billion (in 1960s dollars), ten years, and several lives. I can't help but think that this shoestring trip to Mars is going to end badly. But I wish them luck," said AnonymousGorf.

  • "With a couple going, and a full year and a half for the journey, they may really try for the records with the first pregnancy and birth in space. I wonder just how ambitions for publicity the couple will be.

    It would be quite the risky birth though and even if it doesn't happen, I would be willing to bet it'll get talked about," said EfficientChanges.
And some feel that the imagination and the benefits of a project of a scale such as this benefits society and humanity as a whole.

  • "Human imagination is beautiful!!! Humanity needs this now!" said Fargo27.

  • "Just the sociological data collected from the personal interactions of a man and women facing the stress of a 501-day mission in confinement and danger might be worth it," said Skyhawk.

  • "Even at opposition, Mars is a long trip. Exciting, but imagine watching Earth dwindle to just another point of light. Would be most humbling... and more than a little terrifying," said KLM409.

If you're in a committed relationship, would you go on a Mars mission with your partner? If not, who would you choose?

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