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    Billionaire Dennis Tito, tired of being told that we can't send humans to Mars just yet, on Wednesday revealed his scheme for launching two astronauts to the red planet as early as December 2017.
    美国亿万富翁丹尼斯·蒂托宣布,他的“灵感火星”计划最早将在2017年12月实现,届时两名宇航员将乘坐载人飞船开启探索火星之旅。   Dubbed1 "Inspiration Mars," the flyby mission would exploit a rare alignment2 of Earth and Mars that minimizes the time and the fuel it would take to get to Mars and back home again. The astronauts would nete within 100 miles of the Martian surface before being slung3 back to Earth.   "It would be a voyage of around 800 million miles around the sun in 501 days," Tito testified Wednesday at a hearing of the House subnetmittee on space. "No longer is a Mars flyby mission just one more theoretical idea. It can be done. Not in a matter of decades, but in a few years."   Tito is a former engineer who made a fortune in investment management and, in 2001, became the first person to pay his way into space, buying a seat on a Russian rocket. Now he's pitching Inspiration Mars as a national priority for the United States. Grab this rare chance to go to Mars quickly or risk seeing China or Russia get there first, he told members of Congress.   Tito mentioned a backup plan that would offer Inspiration Mars four more years of development time. Another alignment of planets in 2021 offers a second chance to go to Mars fairly quickly, but the journey would last 80 days longer and require that the astronauts fly much closer to the sun, within the orbit of Venus, in one portion of the trip. That would add to the already considerable radiation hazards.   When Tito broached4 the idea of Inspiration Mars early this year, he thought he could use primarily private rockets and minimize the need for NASA involvement. But the feasibility study led Tito back to NASA. NASA is building a jumbo rocket, the Space Launch System, that is supposed to be ready for its inaugural5, uncrewed test flight in 2017. The second launch, carrying a crew in NASA's new Orion capsule for the first time, isn't scheduled until 2021.   Tito's plan would essentially6 borrow the SLS for the Mars mission, if NASA agreed. And NASA would have to pay for a lot of this. Tito described Inspiration Mars as a "philanthropic partnership7 with government." He said private donors8 would probably give about $300 million for the mission, and the government would need to provide about $700 million — in addition to the money NASA is already spending, under current programs, on rocket and spacecraft development.   NASA reacted coolly to Tito's proposal.   "Inspiration Mars's proposed schedule is a significant challenge due to life support systems, space radiation response, habitats and the human psychology9 of being in a small spacecraft for over 500 days," spokesman David Weaver10 said in a statement. "The agency is willing to share technical and programmatic expertise11 with Inspiration Mars but is unable to netmit to sharing expenses with them. However, we remain open to further collaboration12 as their proposal and plans for a later mission develop."
    1 dubbed      v.给…起绰号( dub的过去式和过去分词 );把…称为;配音;复制 参考例句:
    Mathematics was once dubbed the handmaiden of the sciences. 数学曾一度被视为各门科学的基础。
    Is the movie dubbed or does it have subtitles? 这部电影是配音的还是打字幕的? 来自《简明英汉词典》
    2 alignment      n.队列;结盟,联合 参考例句:
    The church should have no political alignment.教会不应与政治结盟。
    Britain formed a close alignment with Egypt in the last century.英国在上个世纪与埃及结成了紧密的联盟。
    3 slung      抛( sling的过去式和过去分词 ); 吊挂; 遣送; 押往 参考例句:
    He slung the bag over his shoulder. 他把包一甩,挎在肩上。
    He stood up and slung his gun over his shoulder. 他站起来把枪往肩上一背。
    4 broached      v.谈起( broach的过去式和过去分词 );打开并开始用;用凿子扩大(或修光);(在桶上)钻孔取液体 参考例句:
    She broached the subject of a picnic to her mother. 她向母亲提起野餐的问题。 来自辞典例句
    He broached the subject to the stranger. 他对陌生人提起那话题。 来自辞典例句
    5 inaugural      adj.就职的;n.就职典礼 参考例句:
    We listened to the President's inaugural speech on the radio yesterday.昨天我们通过无线电听了总统的就职演说。
    Professor Pearson gave the inaugural lecture in the new lecture theatre.皮尔逊教授在新的阶梯讲堂发表了启用演说。
    6 essentially      adv.本质上,实质上,基本上 参考例句:
    Really great men are essentially modest.真正的伟人大都很谦虚。
    She is an essentially selfish person.她本质上是个自私自利的人。
    7 partnership   &nb

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