Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One Small Step For Multi-Millionaire: One Giant Leap For Mankind?

With multi-millionaire and first ever space tourist Dennis Tito’s slated private fundraising to send a trained couple for a round-trip to Mars represent a one giant leap for all of us? 

By: Ringo Bones 

The planned endeavor is expected to cost by as much as 1 billion US dollars using current rocket technology and is slated to be given the go ahead by the year 2018, such challenges aside it hasn’t yet discouraged American multi-millionaire and pioneering space tourist Dennis Tito to establish a private fundraising campaign to send a trained middle-aged male and female couple on a 500 day round trip to Mars. Though the planned mission saves by as much as 19 billion US dollars by merely orbiting Mars instead of landing on the red planet’s surface, it does still exposes the prospective couple’s to still largely unknown risks of a long-duration spaceflight – namely, solar radiation exposure since the mission involves venturing away from the Earth’s protective magnetic field and the detrimental health effects of long-term weightlessness. This is why the prospective couple that will be chosen for the mission should be a little over past their child-bearing ages to minimize the risks of bearing genetically mutated children due to exposure to unfiltered solar and cosmic radiation. 

The 2018 date was not just chosen arbitrarily, it is one of the few “auspicious” years in a century where Mars gets closest to the Earth – about as close as 36 million miles. And such rare planetary alignment allows the spacecraft to use the gravity of Mars to whip it back to Earth at 25,000 miles per hour, thus saving the cost of precious rocket fuel to be used in the overall mission. 

Dennis Tito’s “altruism” behind such complex and pricey endeavor is to inspire the current generation of schoolchildren to be more enthusiastic about math and science subjects that are indispensible in the aerospace industry and space exploration. Sadly, since the Bush era “War on Terror”, the math and science knowledge of America had been mostly applied in the militarization of the aerospace industry – i.e. unmanned military drones. With Tito’s privately funded space exploration initiative, the math and science knowledge of the United States will now be used for more peaceful means, 

Dennis Tito first gained fame in the field of space exploration when he used his own money – a little over 20 million US dollars – to allow him to went into a 2-week “working vacation” on the International Space Station a few years ago. Thus making him the first ever space tourist who used his own money. 

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