A Dutch group – Mars One – has announced plans to establish a human settlement on Mars in 2023.
The project is being led by Bas Lansdorp, a researcher from the Netherlands with a Masters in Science from Delft University of Technology. The plan is to send food and other supplies to the planet by 2016, then after several stages land humans on Mars for permanent settlement in 2023.
At first glance, this project appears to be extraordinarily optimistic in terms of timescale, but let's see what happens. There have been many surprising developments in space travel of late – such as Planetary Resources' plans for asteroid mining, Space Adventures offering lunar tourism, the world's first commercial spaceport, the launch of Falcon 9 by SpaceX, Russian and Japanese plans for Moon missions, and a revolutionary new rocket engine.