On Feb. 27, 2013, Wired reported, Private Plan to Send Humans to Mars in 2018 Might Not Be So Crazy. Inspiration Mars Foundation, a non-profit company founded by millionaire and space tourist Dennis Tito, is planning an ambitious private manned mission to Mars with a two-person crew to fly around the Red Planet and return to Earth in 501 days, beginning in January 2018. Inspiration Mars is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which believes in the exploration of space as a catalyst for growth, national prosperity, knowledge and global leadership.
Although the spacecraft would not land humans on Mars or even put them in orbit, it would bring people within a few hundred kilometers of the Martian surface, which is roughly the same distance between the International Space Station and Earth. This would represent a major milestone in human spaceflight. If this mission is successful it would go down in history as the first time a private company accomplished something government agencies have been unable to do in space. At this time the mission has nowhere near the funding which it needs to launch and will require raising greater sums than have ever been done for a private space endeavor.
The designers for this mission also need to figure out exactly how to keep the crew healthy, both physically and psychologically, for the 501-day duration of the flight. The crew would be confronted with dangers from radiation, bone and muscle loss, fatigue, and depression. Furthermore, the mission designers will have to ensure they can get the crew to the ground safely when the capsule returns to Earth at 30,000 mph. Jane Poynter, , president of the Paragon Space Development Corporation, which makes life-support systems and has partnered with Inspiration Mars, has said, “The reason this entire thing is possible is because it’s actually a very simple mission.”