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WASHINGTON -- The plan is to send two Americans, one man and one woman, to Mars.

They wouldn't land but they would orbit around it and return to earth after about a year-and-a-half in deep space in a very small spaceship.
The man behind this ambitious proposal is Dennis Tito, a multimillionaire and the first man to pay for a trip to outer space.

The mission is called "Inspiration Mars - A Mission for America," and Tito says the goal is to get Americans exploring deep space for the first time since the Apollo program.

"I will come out a lot poorer, because of the inspiration. "

Here's why he thinks his team can pull it off: The vehicle would be built around proven and tested technology. Because it's a private entity, they can take risks that NASA can't.
And this mission would be timed to coincide with a rare planetary alignment, the closest that Earth and Mars ever get.

Hence, the aggressive launch date of January 5th, 2018.

But before then, they've got big issues: Money.

Tito's agreed to fund the first two-years, but they will still need about a billion dollars.
There's no time for a test flight. This would be a one-shot wonder.

And they need to find a crew that can handle living in something like small aircraft for 501 days.

"This is going to be, bare bones, drinks same water everyday.

Bottom line, this is an aggressive, ambitious, and very risky proposal. But if the goal is to inspire, well after today, they're off to a good start.

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