The U.S. space agency has big plans for the Red Planet. NASA has announced an ambitious multi-year Mars exploration program, looking ahead to meeting President Barack Obama's challenge to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden says the seven missions, planned or already under way, will ensure America remains the world leader in the exploration of our Earth-like neighbor. Next year, NASA will send an orbiter to study the Martian upper atmosphere, and in later years, another mission will take the first look into the planet's deep interior.
American space scientists will also work with the European Space Agency's 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions. And a new rover is planned for launch in 2020, building on the successful design of Curiosity, the car-sized robotic vehicle that is traversing the Martian landscape, four months into its two-and-a-half-year mission.