Tito noted today that if the U.S. doesn’t partner with him to send a couple to fly past Mars, he’ll partner with Russia or China instead.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Dennis Tito noted today that if the U.S. doesn’t partner with him to send a couple to fly past Mars, he’ll partner with Russia or China instead.

That’s nice, but how does he know they’ll partner with him? Based on his proposal, I would expect Russia especially to laugh him out of the room.

Share

11 comments

  • ken anthony

    I just emailed ILC Dover and suggested they come up with an inflatable porch for the Dragon that could launch with it. Then lock Tito and Elon in a room to figure things out. It doesn’t require HLV, the F9 should do it.

    The snag would be earth departure. Refueling the upper stage would require the crew to go up after or during refueling on a separate flight.

    Perhaps a letter writing campaign to ILC Dover would be a good idea?

  • Steve C

    This plan sounds like riding a C-130 to Europe, circling Paris once and flying home. A long uncomfortable trip for not much purpose.

  • You’re not serious, are you? You can’t really believe that a flight to Europe on a C-130 plane equates to a flight to and from Mars, can you?

    Airplanes have been around more than a century. The technology is robust and well established. It is not exploration to try to fly across the Atlantic. Going to Mars however is a far far different thing.

  • Steve C

    It’s not the same at all. The C-130 flight is about 16 hours. A pair of earplugs, a paperback book and some sandwiches and you’re set. The Mars flight is a year of setting new standards in the definition of boredom, interrupted with an hour of your nose pressed against the glass wishing you had as good a view as you saw on the National Geographic Channel. The first week of the flight will be exciting, but there is only so much time you can be amused by spinning things in mid-air and watching the unmoving stars. I doubt even 0 G sex is all its cracked up to be. After that, the trick will be keeping the crew from killing each other. Imagine being locked in a camper with your wife for a year. For a year of torture, their reward is a footnote in the textbooks. Who, other than the space buffs, remember Apollo 8?
    Your definition of exploration is in the 19th century mold, with brave men doing pointless things, just to say they had done them. Their roll is better done with robots now. Send men when they are needed.

  • Edward

    “Your definition of exploration is in the 19th century mold, with brave men doing pointless things, just to say they had done them.”

    I’m not sure which 19th century pointless things you are talking about, but in the 20th century we went to the poles, and discovered how to (and how not to) live in those regions for scientific study. We flew across the Atlantic Ocean for “pointless” prizes, which led to transcontinental airline flights. We went to the top of the highest mountain on Earth, which led to so much tourism there that it is now a problem.

    Are any of these the “pointless things” that you were thinking of?

    Apollo 8, of course, was government funded, and when the government got bored, it abandoned that part of space. The promise of the Apollo program was squandered by our government, making that inspirational promise of grand plans for space into a pointless thing. (My government went to the moon, and all I got was an aging space station.) It is now taking private individuals and companies to turn it around and bring to life (less grandiose versions of) the inspirational advancements of the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

  • Steve C

    Yes, those are the pointless things I was talking of. They accomplished very little science and merely proved that a person could get somewhere. They were done for fame and glory, not science. Consider Ernest Shackleton’s Ad. In modern times, the explorer’s place is taken by robotic probes. send men after the basic questions are resolved, and you need a versatile researcher on site. (I once read a Sci Fi story where the first man on Mars was a repairman for the probes)
    What is accomplished by a Mars flyby mission? What is the return for the risk and the expense?

  • ken anthony

    merely proved that a person could get somewhere

    Yup. That’s all. Merely. Prove is the operative word. Silencing critics is the result.

    Science isn’t the only reason for doing things. Robots can only settle worlds if they replace us.

  • Pzatchok

    If Shackleton had waited a few years he could have used a snow mobile and been there and back inside of a week.

    The only glory was in the risk. Lower the risk and you lose most if not all of the glory because people can easily see something can be done.
    Like riding a rocket into space. A been there done that attitude is what our young people have now. And they are ones we need to inspire not the old farts in politics.

    How are you going to make this ride to Mars exciting enough to inspire the youth of today?
    Tell them the crew could die, like with our first space shots, or moon landings?
    Tell them that by going there we will get a new Iphone out of it? Or its all part of some new game show?

    My real complaint about a human manned Mars ride around is the waste of cash that could go to better things like other space projects. Plus the unneeded risk to the lives of both the idiots who choose to go.

  • wade

    Each one of you have interesting and valid points. although i tend to agree with Mr. Anthony, But. Robotic Tech can achieve a Diagnostic Edge over Time. There exists a Hands On reality that No robot can attain when compared to Trained Scientific Humans

  • Pzatchok

    But so far they have no job to do during the trip out, back or while in orbit of Mars.

    Its just a sight seeing tour.

    And for that robots can do just as well, at no risk to people.

  • Pzatchok

    If this guy was serious he would not even talk about anyone but the US and NASA.

    For one he now sounds like spoiled kid crying if I can’t be the quarterback I’m taking my ball and going home.

    Russia will never finance a manned flight to Mars. They can barely keep satellite launches funded and working. Unless Tito was willing to finance the whole thing himself.

    China would never do it. Well not with outside influences or participation so Tito is out of that equation.
    They might do it just for show but would anyone really believe they did it if they didn’t give western nations full access at any time? And who thinks they would do that anytime in the near future?
    Talk about a conspiracy theory. It would be like the ones surrounding the Moon landings now. And western nations and news corps had full access to those missions. Half the Chinese wouldn’t believe them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *