Fancy a trip to Mars dear? A 'tried and tested' male-female partnership in focus for space mission

Research suggests a man and a woman working and living together may be better than two people of the same sex on millionaire's mission to the Red Planet

The first humans to visit Mars could be a married couple, after organisers of an ambitious manned mission to the Red Planet said that only a “tried and tested” male-female partnership could cope with the close confinement of a return trip.

Dennis Tito, the multi-millionaire financier and former rocket scientist behind the planned 2018 mission, said he was confident of raising the estimated $1.5bn to $2bn (£1bn- £1.3bn) needed to send a two-person mixed crew to Mars – but admitted that the total funding has yet to be found.

Mr Tito, who once worked for Nasa, promised to fund the Inspiration Mars mission for the next two years, and will ask other wealthy individuals and charitable foundations to contribute to the final cost of building and launching the manned space craft.

“I will come out a lot poorer because of this mission, but my grandchildren will come out a lot richer in terms of inspiration,” Mr Tito said at a press conference in Washington DC.

In addition to charitable and personal donations, Mr Tito said that he expected to raise money from television and media rights. The choice of a mixed crew of one man and one woman would heighten media interest, he said.

The privately-funded mission has signed a “space act” agreement with Nasa. A wide range of industrial partners has already approached the group with the hope of collaborating.

Selecting the man and woman who will become the first people to journey beyond the Moon will be a lengthy and complicated process.

“The requirements are going to be so high. It’s going to be quite a crew-selection process,” Mr Tito said.

The Spartan nature of the crew’s journey is outlined in a scientific paper to be presented this weekend by Mr Tito to an aerospace conference in Montana. There will be no luxuries or privacy, with both crew members expected to share the same small space for eating, sleeping and toileting.

“The journey is treated as a high-risk mission, which drives towards reliable – but minimalist – accommodations and provisions… that would meet only basic human needs to support metabolic requirements and limited crew comfort allowances,” the feasibility study says.

Jane Poynter of Paragon Space Development, who is an adviser on the mission, said that the man and the woman would have to be in a stable relationship.

“The idea of a man and woman going on this mission is an important idea. It’s important also that they are a tried-and-trusted couple,” Dr Poynter said.

“It’s also important that they are man and a woman because they represent humanity…and just as important they represent our children,” she said.

Each crew member will be psychologically profiled so that they are able to endure the long return journey together, with no prospect of an emergency abort procedure if things go wrong.

The fact that the two crew members will share the same living space for 501 days suggests that the man and woman will have to know each other intimately before the mission.

The feasibility study points out that a man and a woman working and living together may be better than two people of the same sex.

A key aspect of the mission will be trust between the crew and mission control, which must be staffed by people who are sensitive to the psychological needs of the two astronauts.

The plan is for the two crew members to spend an extended period of time living and working together before the mission begins. “Experience has shown that it is extremely difficult to train, select and evaluate a crew team without those individuals having had experience living and working in an isolated confined environment for an extended period of time, preferable for the full mission duration, but for at least six months,” the study says.

“Working on this mission will also be a means to train the skilled workforce needed for the future manned Mars mission…. Sending humans on an expedition to Mars will be a defining event for humanity as well as an inspiration to our youth,” it says.

“Social media provides an opportunity for people to meaningfully participate in the mission, likely making this the most engaging human endeavour in modern history,” it concludes.

Suggested Topics
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine