The curent NASA plans are sketched in 2010, published in detail in 2015 and include sending people on Mars in 2030’s.
In order to achieve that, NASA is cooperating with other agencies and private companies to develop the technology needed, including creating 3D printed structures on the moon, with the final goal being, developing similar structures capable of withholding the atmospheric radioactivity of the red planet.
Elon Musk is looking at the Mars colonization like a necessity and the United Arab Emirates have a plan to colonize it by 2117.
The challenges of sustaining human life on Mars will be more serious and tougher than previously thought. Partly based on the medical data gathered from different Russian missions, as well as NASAs’, which took place in the ISS, simulating the same parameters from earth that are necessary to sustain human life will be practically impossible – we would not be able to simulate the same physical conditions, as well the environment, to reconstruct the living conditions on Mars and the characteristics like microgravity and radiation exposure.
Over the years many discussions were developed about the terraformation of Mars, and what they all had in common, was the problem that any kind of artificially created atmosphere would be simply blown out from the planet – which made NASA think about creating a magnetic shell around the planet which would help in containing the atmosphere.
Because with every technological solution for a specific physical problem, they were creating a lot more questions regarding the same, some scientists got to a conclusion that would be more practical to modify the minds and the bodies of the future Mars resident, than modifying the planet to sustain life.
For them, the sociological and political aspect of the functioning of the colonies were as much as problematic as the physical and medical issues. The scientists are also worried about sustaining the life of the planet – first, the colony should be large enough to avoid problems like marrying a blood relative, as well as sustainable technological and medical systems. Second, and most important, every medical staff should be trained to sustain and continue with life on Mars – something that no-one in medicine is currently qualified.
For that reason, the preparation for life on Mars have to begin here on Earth; we will have to rethink about everything we know about learning, work, interconnections as well as the readiness to redefine our life expectancies.