We're just days away from the Curiosity rover's touchdown on the surface of Mars, and with the historic event quickly approaching, NASA has started thinking about the future. Specifically, NASA chief Charles Bolden is thinking of manned missions to the red planet, which are planned to occur sometime in the 2030s. The US has been talking about manned missions to Mars for quite some time now, but when the moment finally arrives, Bolden says that the US won't be going it alone.
"I have no desire to do a Mars landing on our own,' Bolden told USA Today. "The U.S. cannot always be the leader, but we can be the inspirational leader through international cooperation in space exploration." Bolden also said that any future trips to the moon will likely be based around international cooperation as well, meaning that the US is pretty much finished making advances in space exploration on its own.
Indeed, Bolden may not have much of a choice in the matter anyway. With NASA's funding continuously getting cut, we'll need to rely on scientists from other nations to get the job done. Even if money wasn't an issue, a mission to Mars is a monumental undertaking, and it would serve well to have the world's top minds working together on the mission instead of making it a US-only party.
For now, however, the focus remains squarely on the Curiosity rover and its landing on Mars, which is set to go down on August 6. We're less than a week away from touchdown, and thankfully, NASA isn't keep all the excitement to itself, announcing earlier this week that it will be live streaming the entire landing. Be sure to check out our story timeline below for more information about the Curiosity rover and Mars in general!