ANOTHER SMALL STEP FOR MAN and a giant leap for mankind, relatively soon:
NASA just announced the plans for the next phase of its Mars program, culminating in the arrival of humans in the Red Planet's orbit by the 2030s. "This announcement," per a NASA press release, "affirms the agency's commitment to a bold exploration program that meets our nation's scientific and human exploration objectives."
One of NASA's big plans for the Red Planet involves a new Mars robotic science rover -- Curiosity's cousin -- which will launch in 2020 and whose design will largely be based on the thus-far-flawless technology that the Mars Science Laboratory employs. That kind of Curiosity mimicry will minimize mission cost and risk, the thinking goes, while leveraging the learnings of previous work.