NASA Plans Manned Missions To Mars InformationWeek

Defending a budget that effectively cancels a program that would have returned humans to the moon by 2020, NASA’s top official said the space agency is looking beyond the lunar surface—to Mars.
In a statement, NASA administrator Charlie Bolden noted that the $3.8 trillion federal budget proposal handed down earlier this week by President Obama provides $3 billion over five years in funds “for robotic exploration precursor missions that will pave the way for human exploration of the moon, Mars, and nearby asteroids.” Bolden said robotic exploration is an essential precondition for manned missions to Earth’s closest celestial neighbors.
“These missions will inform us of the most interesting places to explore with humans, and validate our approaches to get them there safely and sustainably,” said Bolton.