Mission description

Since the 20th century, there have been several proposed human missions to Mars both by government agencies and private companies.

Most of the human mission concepts as currently conceived by national governmental space programs would not be direct precursors to colonization. Programs such as those being tentatively planned by NASA, Roscosmos, and ESA are intended solely as exploration missions, with the establishment of a permanent base possible but not yet the main goal.

Colonization requires the establishment of permanent habitats that have the potential for self-expansion and self-sustenance. Two early proposals for building habitats on Mars are the Mars Direct and the Semi-Direct concepts, advocated by Robert Zubrin, an advocate of the colonization of Mars.

At the February 2017 World Government Summit, the United Arab Emirates announced a plan to establish a settlement on Mars by 2117, led by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

SpaceX has proposed the development of Mars transportation infrastructure in order to facilitate the eventual colonization of Mars. The mission architecture includes fully reusable launch vehicles, human-rated spacecraft, on-orbit propellant tankers, rapid-turnaround launch/landing mounts, and local production of rocket fuel on Mars via in situ resource utilization (ISRU). SpaceX's aspirational goal as of 2017 was to land their cargo Starships on Mars by 2024 and the first 2 crewed starships by 2026.