A new organisation is looking for two intrepid explorers to embark on the trip of a lifetime – an all-expenses-paid journey to Mars.
The Inspiration Mars foundation has put out a call for a man and a woman beyond childbearing years, preferably married, to journey to the Red Planet in five years’ time.
The organisation is ideally looking for a married couple as they will have a proven track record of bearing each other’s company for long periods of time.
Given that the expedition will be a 501-day round-trip in a rather confined space, it would help to have someone who won’t drive you crazy.
Dennis Tito, the multi-millionaire engineer who set up the foundation and has the honour of being the first-ever space tourist, said that you need a friendly face when you’re hurtling through space.
“When you’re out that far and the Earth is a tiny, blue pinpoint, you’re going to need someone you can hug,” he told Space.com.
He added: “What better solution to the psychological problems you’re going to encounter with that isolation?”
Married couples seem like the ideal choice, while the age factor is down to the fact that the radiation in space can affect the reproductive organs.
If all goes to plan, the lucky couple will head off to Mars in 2018 when the Red Planet will be closer to Earth than it has been for decades.
But it will just be a drive-by visit; the Inspiration Mars spacecraft will pass within 100 miles of the Red Planet before being slingshotted back to Earth.
“The beauty of this mission is its simplicity,” Mr Tito said in a statement.
“Clearly, there are risks associated with the mission, as is true of every space exploration mission. But these are exactly the kinds of risks that America should be willing to take in order to advance our knowledge, experience and position as a world leader.”
If this all-inclusive trip to our neighbouring planet sounds like the perfect summer getaway, don’t get too excited just yet; the life support and radiation protection needed to keep passengers alive on the 17-month voyage hasn’t been invented yet!
If you want to see some alien landscapes, you don’t have to leave Earth! Have a look at these otherworldly places.