Web

Mission to Mars: Space tourist Dennis Tito intends to send married couple to the Red Planet (and bring them back again)

Inspiration MarsMillionaire and former space tourist Dennis Tito on Wednesday revealed details of his ambitious plan to send a manned spacecraft to Mars in January, 2018.

Tito told a media gathering in Washington that the 501-day mission, dubbed Inspiration Mars, a mission for America, is likely to involve a two-person crew comprising a man and a woman. He said that ideally the pair would be a married, middle-aged couple, adding that the space travelers could be selected within the next year.

There had been some speculation as to whether Tito himself would take part in the Red Planet mission, but he ruled himself out. He will, after all, be 77 in 2018 so his decision to oversee the mission from terra firma won’t come as a surprise to too many observers.

“I will not be one of the crew members,” Tito confirmed on Wednesday. “And if I were 30 years younger, I still would not be.” Twelve years ago, the former rocket engineer became the first paying passenger to visit the International Space Station, with the round-trip ticket costing him $20 million.

Million-miles-high club

Jane Poynter, a member of the Paragon space development team that’s helping to organize the mission, said it’s important to have a male and female on board as “they reflect humanity” and could inspire future generations to take an interest in science. The team said if the couple had been together a long time and were in a stable relationship there was a better chance they’d be able to provide each other with the necessary emotional support as they watched Earth getting further and further away. “If that’s not scary, I don’t know what is,” the team commented.

Poynter described the mission as being like “a really long road trip.” She explained, “You’re jammed into an RV that goes the equivalent of 32,000 times around the Earth….and they’ll have about 3,000 pounds of dehydrated food that they’ll get to rehydrate with the same water they drank two days ago.” Hang on, that means….yes, urine and sweat will be on the menu many many times during the “really long road trip.”

Asked of the likelihood of the couple joining the million-miles-high club, a Paragon official said, “It’s a man and wife. Private time. Let your imagination run wild.” It was made clear that the couple should be beyond child-bearing years, so there’ll be no chance of them returning to Earth with a Martian baby.

If all goes to plan, the spacecraft – a modified SpaceX Dragon capsule taken up on a Falcon Heavy rocket – will launch from Moffitt Field at NASA’s Ames facility in California. It won’t land on the Red Planet, but will get pretty close, to within 100 miles of its surface.

‘No chance for abort’

Paragon boss Taber MacCallum said the mission would last 1.4 years, “with no chance for abort.”

“If something goes wrong, there’s no chance of coming back….and we’re going to re-enter at record speeds, 14.2 kilometers per second.” Apparently they haven’t quite worked out how they’re going to do that yet, for speeds like that will put untold stress on the returning module.

Tito, who built his fortune through his California-based investment firm Wilshire Associates, couldn’t confirm how much the 2018 mission would cost, though he said he would “come out a lot poorer.”

[via AP, Fox] [Image: Inspiration Mars]

Emerging Tech

Planet-hunting satellite discovers its first Earth-sized planet

NASA's planet hunting satellite, TESS, has made a new discovery. Last month the satellite discovered its first exoplanet. And now it has achieved another milestone, locating its first Earth-sized planet and a larger sibling planet.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Social Media

How to protect yourself from GoFundMe scams before donating

Can you spot a GoFundMe scam? While the fundraising platform says scams make up less than a tenth of one percent of campaigns, some do try to take advantages of others' charity -- like a case last year that made national news.
Computing

House votes to restore net neutrality rules, but effort faces long odds

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved the Save the Internet Act, a measure intended to restore net neutrality rules that were repealed in 2017 by the Federal Communications Commission.
Mobile

The FCC and White House want to bring high-speed internet to rural areas

The FCC and the White House unveiled new initiatives to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, including $20.4 billion in incentives to companies to build infrastructure. The FCC also announced ways to speed up the rollout of 5G.
Web

Search all of Craigslist at once with these great tools on web and mobile

Not finding what you need in your local area? Craigslist can be great for finding goods and services from further afield too. All you need do is learn these tips for how to search all of Craigslist at once.
Computing

Internet Explorer zero-day exploit makes files vulnerable to hacks on Windows PCs

Evidence of an Internet Explorer zero-day exploit capable of letting hackers steal files from Windows PCs was published online by a security researcher who also claims Microsoft knew of the vulnerability and opted not to patch it.
Business

Buying airline tickets too early is no longer a costly mistake, study suggests

When you book can play a big role in the cost of airline tickets -- so when is the best time to book flights? Earlier than you'd think, a new study suggests. Data from CheapAir.com suggests the window of time to buy at the best prices is…
Computing

Report says 20% of all 2018 web traffic came from bad bots

Distil Networks published its annual Bad Bot Report this week and announced that 20% of all web traffic in 2018 came from bad bots. The report had other similarly surprising findings regarding the state of bots as well.
Computing

Google Chrome will get a Reader Mode for distraction-free desktop browsing

If Google's testing of Reader Mode on the Chrome Canary desktop browser is successful, soon all Chrome users will gain access to this feature. Reader Mode strips away irrelevant content on a webpage for distraction-free browsing.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Computing

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.