Multimillionaire Dennis Tito (who was also the first paying space tourist) has created a nonprofit group called Inspiration Mars and green-lit a program to send a single couple on a 501-day trip around the red planet and return to earth, with a launch scheduled for January 5th, 2018. The mission is described as "high-risk", which is to be expected when you lock a married couple in a cramped capsule for a year and a half.
A celestial harmony makes such a plan feasible -- a once-every-15-years alignment of Earth and Mars wherein a modest craft can shoot there and back with minimal fuel.
The risks of this mission soar beyond those NASA would allow, said Tito adviser Jonathan Clark, a former NASA space doctor now at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Beyond low Earth orbit, cosmic radiation rises dramatically, upping the risk of cancer. If illness or injury occur, there is no hospital for millions of miles, no chance to abort, and no escape.
The nearly 18-month trip will cover 818 million miles.
Time spent within 60,000 miles of Mars: 10 hours.
Wow, if I were the couple going (and my love-doll and I still hope to be), I would turn off the autopilot as soon as we neared Mars THEN CRASH-LAND THAT SUCKER and become the first human to ever step foot on another planet. That'll get me in the history books, right? I really don't even care, I just want David Bowie to write a song about me. Plus I'm going to find that Curiosity rover and ride it around like a golf cart.
Thanks to Evil Ares, Pacman :v and Wilmersama, who agree they should probably send a couple who just started dating so they have time to get to know each other.