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Privately Funded Trip To Mars Planned For 2018

Dennis Tito, the millionaire who became the first private citizen to pay his way for a ride to the International Space Station in 2001, may be planning to fun a round-trip mission to Mars. Initial word of the possible mission leaked in a media advisory posted this week on the website SpaceRef.org, reports NBCnews.com.

The trip is described on the site as a "Mission for America" and is planned for as early as 2018. The mission would send two astronauts to the Red Planet for a return voyage that would take over 500 days.

"This 'Mission for America' will generate new knowledge, experience and momentum for the next great era of space exploration," reads a statement from the site. "It 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."

The advisory also invites media to a press event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. schedule for February 27 and hosted by the Inspiration Mars Foundation. The group is described as a "newly founded nonprofit organization led by American space traveler and entrepreneur Dennis Tito."

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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