It’s one of those it’s-so-crazy-it-just-might-work kind of deals. Inspiration Mars, the non-profit organization planning a manned Mars flyby conceived by first space tourist Dennis Tito, has revealed the working details the mission.
I wrote about the proposed new mission architecture in a piece for Popular Mechanics that was published today.
What it boils down to is that the plan—announced in February with few details—would rely on NASA hardware and NASA buy-in. Which means that the chances of it happening, especially by the 2017/2018 launch window proposed by Tito, are now essentially nil.
For the new plan to work, two things would have to happen.
1) NASA hardware now in development, including the troubled Space Launch System (not-so-affectionately known by space advocates as the Senate Launch System after the public servants who have mandated that NASA build it and damn the technical details) would have to be ready on time.
2) NASA would have to take the kind of bold, balls-to-the-wall risk that it hasn’t made for its manned program since it sent people to the moon more than 40 years ago.
Neither scenario is at all likely.