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Sunday, 3 March 2013

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US private sector hopes to send older couple to Mars

2 March BBC

A team led by millionaire and former space tourist Dennis Tito plans to send a "tested couple" to Mars and back in a privately funded mission.The Inspiration Mars Foundation plans to start its one-and-a-half-year mission in January 2018. The foundation has carried out a study which it says shows that it is feasible to achieve such a mission using existing technology.

The group still has to raise funding for their mission.Among those involved in the project is Jane Poynter, who spent two years locked away in a sealed ecosystem with seven other people in 1991 which she described as a "New Age Garden of Eden".

She told BBC News that the mission planners wanted the crew to consist of an older couple whose relationship would be able to withstand the stress of living in a confined environment for two years.I can attest from personal experience from living in Biosphere 2 that having somebody that you really deeply trusted and cared for was an extraordinary thing to have," Ms Poynter explained.

Ms Poynter, who ended up marrying one of those involved in the Biosphere 2 project, Taber Macallum, admitted that it could be "challenging" for the couple. But said that the selection process would attempt to find "resilient people that would be able to maintain a happy upbeat attitude in the face of adversity". The plan was to choose a middle-aged couple because their health and fertility would be less affected by the radiation they would be exposed to during such a long space mission.The couple would receive extensive training and would be able to draw on psychological support from mission control throughout the mission.

 

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