The Mars flyby mission announcement came Wednesday, shortly after the House Subcommittee on Space held hearings on the Space Leadership Preservation Act, a bill that would overhaul the way NASA is funded and how its leadership is structured.
In this case, however, it's not Internet titan Google spearheading the mission, but the Inspiration Mars Foundation, a nonprofit group Tito and others established to execute the project.
A team from the foundation is presenting the results of a mission-feasibility study next weekend at an Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineering (IEEE) aerospace conference in Big Sky, Mont.
"All of the work done to date show the mission is possible, just barely," said Taber MacCallum, CEO and chief technology officer for Paragon Space Development Corporation and the Inspiration Mars Foundation's chief technology officer, during a press conference in Washington on Wednesday.
At the same time, however, the study also shows that it will take the Orion capsule and the space-launch system NASA is working on to pull off a mission to explore Mars with a crew of scientists, he said.