REPORTER: Middle-aged couples in search of adventure may want to pay close attention. Millionaire space tourist Dennis Tito is setting his sites on the red planet, announcing on Wednesday plans to send two people, a male and a female, near Mars in 2018. Tito made history in 2001 as the first person to fund his own trip to the International Space Station.
DENNIS TITO, CHAIRMAN OF INSPIRATION MARS FOUNDATION: "We fly within a hundred miles of Mars. I mean that is essentially being there. Swing by, use the gravitational shift of Mars and come back to earth, just like a boomerang, you don't need to have any propulsive maneuvers."
REPORTER: Because the couple won't actually be landing on the red planet, Tito's team won't have to worry about undocking or redocking or the do-or-die engine burn from the return from Mars. A middle-aged couple, well past their childbearing years would be the ideal crew members to make the trip says Tito because of the limited space inside the capsule. Jayne Poynter is the President of Paragon Space Development.
JANE POYNTER: "It's a really long road trip. You are jammed into an RV that goes the equivalent of 32,000 times around the earth, and you can't get out for about a year and a half."
REPORTER: While Tito is confident in the mission, he says the planets will have to be in perfect alignment. He finally decided on 2018 because it looked better than 2031, the next ideal window.