Elon Musk, the SpaceX founder, believes that traveling to Mars isn’t too far in the future, having a goal of reaching one million people inhabiting Mars in the next century. However, SpaceX isn’t the only company to invest towards reaching the Red Planet. In fact, there are numerous missions being planned, manned or unmanned, which are currently in progress or pending governmental approval. We are talking about space organizations and private spaceflight companies found all across the globe.
The Mars exploration or humans traveling there are not at all new subjects of discussion. For now, at least, manned missions are still considered to be near impossible to perform. However, the unmanned mission started out in the ‘60s. So far, there have been a total of 56 Mars missions and from them, 26 were a complete success. Although the percentage of success isn’t the best one, we have to take into account how difficult is to reach the red planet.
Right now, there is one rover that is currently operational, while another is expected to reach the planet later this year. Opportunity is not operational at this moment, due to a dust storm, and scientists made grim predictions about its future. Moving on, there are six satellites which are orbiting Mars, having the mission of providing precious data about our planet’s dusty sister.
Of course, it doesn’t end here as 2020, 2022 and 2024 come with launch windows for more missions and there are even proposals to send people on Mars by the 2030s. Because they are so prohibitively expensive, there aren’t too many Martian missions being funded by governments. The 2020s will bring private or crowd-funded missions which won’t just have Mars as their goal, but the rest of our solar system as well.