Ahh yes, Mars! The fourth planet from the Sun, and one of the closest to Earth. Mars has been a source of fascination for centuries, and the quest to find out everything we can about the Red Planet is never ending. Ever since it was assumed that creatures on Mars had dug canals for purposes of irrigation, it has been widely speculated that there is life on Mars. This has fueled the quest to continue exploring the planet, and some even call for us to go to Mars.
In the 1970's the first probes touched down on Mars and gave us some great pictures of the surface of the planet. When Viking I and VIking II first got to Mars, they showed us things that we had never seen before. Great peaks, craters, and other surface features that left us in awe. There had even been a photgraph that seemed to show a mysterious face formation. It looked to perfect to be a natural feature, and it fueled even more speculation on who or what had made that face.
We now know that there is no face on Mars, and that it was just the result of some very fuzzy images. However, that speculation has been replaced by more knowledge of the surface of Mars. It seems that there was once liquid water on the face of Mars, and that there have been some signs of methane being made on the surface. Is this methane due to some sort of biology, or is it just natural chemical reactions? We don't know.
That is the problem about Mars, is that we really can't figure out if life was there until we go and find out. A robot can only do so much, and it will take a human to actually study what is being looked at. We need to do the science, and find the evidence ourselves, and not be confined to a little robot that can only cover so much space on Mars. Humans could cover more area, and make better conclusions than a robot could on Mars.
It will be tough to get to Mars no doubt. However there is much research, and more planning toward a human actually going to Mars. Both NASA and the ESA have determined that there will be a human on Mars around 2035. When we finally get to Mars, we will find life, and we will find another planet in which we can populate should the Earth no longer be a suitable home. There is much that we have to learn, and there is much that can only be learned if we go to Mars.
What is the future for humanity and Mars? Hopefully we can figure out what exactly is going on on Mars, and hopefully we can finally send someone there to do the research. It would be a great day if we could prove that Mars had life, but we can only do that if a human goes and does the science. Robots can only do so much. Humanity to Mars is the logical next step, and will have great benefits as well.