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Dennis Tito’s project to launch a manned fly-by of Mars by 2018 has issued its revised plans, and they call for NASA to use SLS to do it.

Dennis Tito’s project to launch a manned fly-by of Mars by 2018 has issued its revised plans, and they call for NASA to use SLS to do it.

I will have more to say about this proposal shortly.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • I’m going to go on record as saying that there is no way a manned mission to Mars of any kind will take place by 2018. It’s taken ten years (!) for a private agency to build a reliable sub-orbital craft after demonstration of concept. Using barely capable technology is one thing for a three-day mission to the Moon; it’s out of the question for a mission to Mars.

  • Pzatchok

    What could two people do going around Mars that a good robot satellite could not do?

    Seriously. Are they going to build some new camera or sensor for better science while on the way? No.

    Are they going to be there to fix anything that goes wrong? maybe but just spend all that space and room that humans need to live on more and better equipment. A few back ups maybe.

    Whats the estimated mass of all the supplies they would need to make a two year round trip? I bet its huge.
    More than enough to add on a lander or two and possibly an extra telecommunications satellite as a back up for all the craft already on the planet.

    Maybe enough to add on a solar observatory so we can view the Sun from a different angle at the same time as we see things from Earth.

  • They wouldn’t be going to do research. They would be going to explore, as humans. They would be going to go where no human has gone before.

    That’s all the reason you need.

    I just wish these proposals were more realistic about the difficulties.

  • Pzatchok

    No one with any realistic thought is going to send them without an mission or job.

    Not one explorer has even gone someplace without a mission from his backers. Columbus, Marco Polo, Lief Ericson(sp?) no one has even gone were no man has gone before without looking for a way to make profit in some way.

    The profit could just be research into better trade routes but it is eventual profit. It could be a new place to live, or mineral wealth, or even just pure science research.
    They would never go just because. Its not like a trip to the top of a mountain that hundreds have done before.

    The more expensive the mission the more results are expected.

    Since we are not going for a place to live anytime in the near future or for mineral wealth then all we have left is pure research.
    All our space launches before Apollo had a reason. Satellites for telecommunications, nuclear launch vehicles, or an eventual mission to the moon.
    Why send people to orbit Mars if we haven’t even established a moon colony yet?
    Research. And we can do more and stay longer with unmanned ships at this point.

  • ken anthony

    What could two people do going around Mars that a good robot satellite could not do?

    What a silly question. A robot can not show how humans will live on such a journey. I hate to be snarky, but do you often miss the obvious?

    Before we can colonize mars, support must be generated (assuming some billionaire doesn’t just do it.)

    I can only assume SLS & Orion were chosen for political or cost reasons. The less than half the mass Dragon doesn’t need to have it’s heat shield upgraded like the Orion and has already flown. A Sundancer already has 50% more life support and ten times the internal volume of the Cygnus. Both can be put in orbit on existing launch vehicles. Refuel the upper stage that put the Sundancer in orbit and you’ve got a departure stage.

  • Edward

    Tito’s mission is to be bold.

    He wants to show that it can be done and has no other serious expectations, such as profit. He does not have time to develop anything more than makeshift habitats and life support.

    I used to think that it was a silly idea, too. Without landing on the planet or doing anything useful I saw no point, but then realized that he wants to boldly go where no man has gone before. That isn’t so silly and isn’t so bad for a privately funded operation. It might not go as well as Tito thinks if NASA gets involved, however. They likely will want more mission, too.

  • Pzatchok

    You can pretty much do the same thing by sinking two people inside an old sub in a harbor for two years. Keep a power line and air hose attached but they have all their food on board already.

    like watching two rats locked inside a cage.

    A million times cheaper and can be started inside 6 months.

    As for the effects in space what are we learning in orbit now?
    The only thing different in going to Mars is that your taking away all of their support and or emergency support. They have no way to get home for that emergency appendectomy.

  • ken anthony

    Pzatchok, now you’re being intentionally dense (but I do appreciate your snark.)

    Let me hear your case… “I sunk two people in a sub so that proves they could have gone to mars and back.”

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