The 72-year-old engineer and entrepreneur has revealed that his non-profit organisation the Inspiration Mars Foundation hopes to launch a manned mission which will last for 16 months, taking its passengers within 100 miles of the Red Planet's surface.
Speaking in Washington DC on Wednesday (February 27), Tito said: "We've not sent humans beyond the moon in 40 years... and I think it's time to put an end to that lapse."
The Inspiration Mars Foundation has said it would prefer to send an older couple who are married or in a long-term relationship on the mission, and the organisation's chief technical officer Taber MacCallum confirmed that they are keen to hear from experienced astronauts aged in their early or mid-50s.
"In conditions like those going to Mars, you have to have a colleague who is also a companion of some kind, or else the pressure gets too great," said MacCallum. "We think a married couple would be ideal, but we haven't ruled out people who aren't a couple."
The organisation believes that older people are less likely to have their health and fertility affected by any radiation risks. Its website says that it is "committed to sending a two-person American crew - a man and a woman - on an historic journey to fly within 100 miles around the Red Planet and return to Earth safely".
Jane Poynter, who has responsibility for environmental control and life support systems, told BBC News that the mission wants to send a mixed-sex couple into space "for girls as well as boys to have role models".
NASA is not directly involved as a sponsor, MacCallum added, but the two organisations have signed an agreement and the space agency has offered practical support.
"We would be fools to not use the unparalleled expertise of NASA when we can," he said. "NASA will pay nothing, but can get a lot out of this plan if it all comes together."
The mission has a target launch date of January 5, 2018 - a date which has been chosen because of a particularly close alignment of Mars with Earth which allows the journey to be completed in as little as 501 days.