SHARECOMMENTMORE

SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A tycoon and space experts have announced an audacious but bare-bones private plan to send a married couple around Mars in 2018.

They wouldn't land on the planet, just zip by and return.

The mission announced Wednesday would last more than 16 months. Team member Taber MacCallum compares it to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The nonprofit "Inspiration Mars" will get initial money from multimillionaire Dennis Tito, the first space tourist. Outsiders put 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. They would use a private rocket and capsule.

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