The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has announced their plans for colonizing Mars, of which includes plans for permanent ‘Earth Independent’ settlements that would be capable of operating for extended missions with little or no material support needed from Earth.

Their report, entitled ‘Journey to Mars’, outlines NASA’s 3-stage plan for developing the path for the long-term colonization of Mars, with the goal of landing a human presence there sometime in the 2030s.
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Flowing liquid water has been found on mars, confirming long-standing speculation regarding some anomalous features imaged by orbiting space probes — and further increases the chances of finding living organisms on the Red Planet.

In an announcement made by NASA on Sept. 28, they revealed the findings of a study into images of dark streaks on the slopes of some Martian hillsides during periods where the temperature rises above -23ºC during the summer season, dubbed "recurring slope lineae", that were speculated to be flowing water. While evidence has been found for the presence of ancient Martian oceans, this is the first evidence of present-day water.
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The Mars Curiosity rover has taken a picture of a rock formation that looks for all the world like a spoon that is floating above the ground.

NASA has identified the spoon-like object as a ventifact, which is a rock that has been shaped by the wind, slowly sandblasted over time into its present shape, and held in place on its parent rock formation at the end of it’s handle. Mars’s lower gravity, approximately one-third that of Earth’s, has also probably helped prevent the spoon’s snapping off under it’s own weight. There are a number of other ventifacts present in the picture as well, but none quite as dramatic as the levitating Martian utensil.
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A lucky accident aboard the Curiosity Rover has confirmed that there is life on Mars. A life-detection experiment conducted by the Viking lander in 1976 generated a pattern of responses that fulfilled criteria for the presence of life on the planet, but the results were dismissed by JPL experts. Over the years that followed, this conclusion came into serious question, and a paper published in the International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences in March of 2012 presented convincing evidence that the earlier analysis of the data was flawed. Now the leak in Curiosity’s wet chemistry test has confirmed the presence of gasses that can only be created by living more