By Brett Line, National Geographic News
The tweets poured in after news broke Wednesday that a group called Inspiration Mars is planning to send a couple to fly by the red planet. The couple would spend 501 days in space before returning home. The mission, slated for 2018, is being funded by multimillionaire Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist.
Many tweets on Thursday expressed humor at the idea of a married couple going to space for 501 straight days (we examined the psychological challenges here):
A man and a woman. Going to Mars. A year and a half in a capsule. Coronal Mass Ejections are the least of their worries. #inspirationmars
— Ian Sample (@iansample) February 27, 2013
— Miles O’Brien (@milesobrien) February 27, 2013
Any volunteers? Married couple to go to Mars. My husband and I struggled with 10 days in a Eurocamp caravan! soc.li/wkWMKwf
— Mad Science(@MadScienceNW) February 27, 2013
Multimillionaire to fund weirdest date EVERhuff.to/13oahcB
— HuffPostBiz (@HuffPostBiz) February 27, 2013
Some on Twitter felt like the mission would be a tremendous bore.
Gosh, I hope that the astronauts on the 501-day long #InspirationMars mission can get Netflix.
— Jonathan Foley (@GlobalEcoGuy) February 27, 2013
Plenty of tweets expressed doubts about the worth and feasibility of the mission:
— Joel Achenbach (@JoelAchenbach) February 27, 2013
— Brian Vastag (@brianvastag) February 27, 2013
But the mission captivated dreamers of all ages:
A 6-year-old boy sent a $10 donation, calling this mission “my Apollo.” #InspirationMars
— CNN Light Years (@CNNLightYears) February 27, 2013
And many others are hopeful:
— SpaceRef (@SpaceRef) February 27, 2013
Some even thought of other “firsts” for the mission:
If the crew going to orbit Mars decided to crash land on the planet would they still count as the first people on Mars? #InspirationMars
— Oli Revel (@RevelAlliance) February 27, 2013