September 21, 2050 - At a press conference today it was announced that the first tourist heading for Mars will be the 38-year-old US businessman Patrick Clifford. He will leave the earth in the launching window of fall 2052 and set his foot on the surface of Mars in February 2053, together with the other 6 astronauts assigned for the mission to further explore the planet.
Patrick has now two years of training ahead of him to get ready for the trip. Not only will he spend five months in getting to Mars, but another 600 days there before he can go back home. Patrick was of course very excited: "This has been my dream since I was four, and seeing the first man on Mars 20 years ago made me realize that it was possible."
To be able to pay the US$ 1.3 billion for his ticket for the trip Patrick sold his majority stake in the business empire his father had built. "I know that my father would have been proud of me if he had still been alive today, he knew what this means to me", says Patrick. There is no risk though that you will find Patrick begging in your street corner when he comes back, rumors says that he was paid twice as much for his part of the company.
So, how is he going to spend his 600 days on the red planet? "Well, since I don't have a job when I get back after selling the company, I have plenty of time to come up with a new business idea", he says and laughs. If he brings a shovel he can start building the first hotel there, but maybe he shouldn't expect too many guests until someone can offer a lower transfer fare.