WASHINGTON (February 27, 2013)—Tycoon Dennis Tito and a team of space experts have announced an audacious private plan to send a married couple around Mars in 2018.
The two space travelers wouldn't land on the planet, but instead would zip by it and then return to Earth.
The mission announced Wednesday would last more than 16 months.
Team member Taber MacCallum compared it to the Lewis and Clark expedition.
“Investments in human space exploration technologies and operations by NASA and the space industry are converging at the right time to make this mission achievable,” he said.
The nonprofit "Inspiration Mars" will get initial money from Tito, a multimillionaire who was the first space tourist.
Outsiders set the price tag at more than $1 billion.
NASA isn't involved in the project.
The mission would entail minimal clothing, food and water.
MacCallum said the couple would live in an area half the size of an RV.
The mission would involve the use of a private rocket and capsule and foundation officials say they’re in talks with several commercial aerospace companies, but did not say which ones.