While NASA concentrates on sending unmanned probes to Mars, a private space enthusiast plans to raise the ante—with a manned flight to Mars within the next five years, reports Wired. Most of the details are under wraps until Wednesday, but the Inspiration Mars Foundation has announced it intends to launch the 501-day round-trip journey in January 2018, sending a person or people around the red planet and back to Earth.
"This 'Mission for America' will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration," said the press release. The Inspiration Mars Foundation was founded by Dennis Tito, who paid $20 million in 2001 to become the world's first space tourist. But if you cannot wait until 2018 for your Mars fix, India confirmed yesterday that it will be launching its first probe to Mars this October, reports the Wall Street Journal. It follows up an an announcement India made last year.