According to news reports, Dennis Tito, the first tourist to travel in space back in 2001, when he took a trip to the space station, is apparently planning on orchestrating a flyby of Mars in 2018. Why then? Because that’s when the orbital setting is just right for a 501 day free return flight. The orbital geometry won’t be right again until the 2030s. Few details for the plan have emerged; the official press briefing won’t come until next Wednesday, on February 27. But according to some sources, it appears the idea is to use a SpaceX Falcon Heavy to launch a modified Dragon capsule with two astronauts who would then fly their Dragon spaceship past Mars and back again. Some have wondered if perhaps the Dragon would link up with a Bigelow module, but there is no official word to support that speculation, either.
Still, the 21st century is shaping up to be interesting: Space Adventures offers–for very high prices–tourist voyages to the space station and even around the moon. Meanwhile, two corporations have been formed to mine asteroids. Multiple private companies are competing to ferry astronauts to the Space Station for NASA, with SpaceX and their Falcon 9/Dragon combo clearly in the lead. And now this.
This is the path the 2018 mission to Mars would probably take.