Traveling to mars is going to be a really, really long term project. We had some fun on the moon and drove around up there in a nifty moon buggy, but we didn't have a commitment to stay there for very long -- or even plans to keep going there once we knew it could be done. Getting astronauts to mars requires a completely different level of planning than going to the moon. Current technology won't get us there (well, at least not alive and healthy), but maybe we're still making some progress with a few untested propulsion systems.
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