The goal of human exploration and settlement of Mars is not beyond our reach. No giant spaceship built with exotic equipment is required. Indeed, all the technologies needed for sending humans to Mars are available today. We can reach the Red Planet with relatively small spacecraft launched directly to Mars by booster rockets embodying the same technology that carried astronauts to the moon more than a quarter of a century ago. The key to success lies with the same strategy that served the earliest explorers of our own planet: travel light and live off the land. The first piloted mission to Mars could reach the planet within a decade. Here is how the proposed plan– called the Mars Direct project–would work.