Next stop: Mars Cosmos

What will it take to plant booted feet on Martian soil? And what will it take to keep them there indefinitely? We set our sights on the Red Planet.
The dream of visiting Mars is as old as the fantasies of sci-fi authors Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury, but it took a giant step forward in January 2004, when U.S. President George W. Bush announced America’s intention of returning to the Moon, and using that as a springboard to the Red Planet.
The proposed U.S. program โ€“ still in its early design stages โ€“ kicks off with a series of robotic missions to the Moon, followed by more manned lunar missions around 2020. It also involves a new spaceship, called Orion, based on a combination of technology derived from the space shuttles and the venerable Saturn V โ€“ the booster used 38 years ago to launch Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their historic voyage to the Moon.
That’s the Moon taken care of, but it’s yet to be determined when the U.S. program is due to crank it up a notch and set its sights on Mars.