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Fancy a trip to Mars? Just wait until 2018

Posting in Education

For Dennis Tito, being the first private citizen in space isn't enough -- Mars is next on his calendar.

On a round trip which will last 501 days, Tito -- who became the first private space traveler eleven years ago -- plans to set off on the journey while in his late seventies. As reported by sister site CNET, a release from the entrepreneur's newly formed Inspiration Mars Foundation says that the mission will hopefully go ahead in January 2018.

Touted as the "Mission for America," the ambitious space jaunt is intended "to encourage all Americans to believe again, in doing the hard things that make our nation great, while inspiring youth through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and motivation."

Tito spent $20 million in his earlier mission to space back in 2001, where he became the first private citizen to leave Earth. There's no word on how much a trip to Mars would cost, but we may be able to find out later this month.

The Inspiration Mars Foundation plans to hold a press conference on Feb 27 to discuss the mission in-depth. In particular, how the foundation intends to keep its astronauts safe and healthy -- especially considering radiation level -- during the trip will be one of the main concerns.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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— By on February 21, 2013, 10:23 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure