Feb. 27 - Space tourist and Multimillionaire entrepreneur Dennis Tito unveils plans to send a couple to Mars in January 2018. Deborah Gembara reports.
Calling all Middle-age couples --- this could be just the adventure for you. Millionaire space tourist Dennis Tito is setting his sites on the red plant---- 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 International Space Station. SOUNDBITE: Dennis Tito, Chairman of Inspiration Mars Foundation, saying: "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." Because the couple won't actually be landing on the red planet, his team won't have to worry about undocking or redocking or the do-or-die engine burn from the return from Mars. According to Tito, a middle-age couple, past their childbearing years would be the ideal crew members to make the journey in what can be best described as a space RV, a streamlined capsule with just 600 cubic feet of living space. SOUNDBITE: Jane Poynter, President and Chairwoman Of Paragon Space Development Corporation saying: "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. And, you've got everything in there with you jammed inside." While the American businessman is confident in the mission, he says the planets will have to be in perfect alignment. He decided on 2018 becaust is closer than 2031, the next ideal window.