It appears manned inter-planetary space travel within our solar system is now becoming a reality. The world has been sending unmanned spacecraft and space probes to other planets and bodies within our solar system for several decades. This doesn't mean I may live to see it, but my kids and grandkids will.
You know its going to happen as the list of countries with space programs continues to grow, e.g. U.S., Europe, Russia, China, India, Japan... Meanwhile, numerous private companies are also pushing and shoving to get into the race to conquer space, e.g. SpaceX, Boeing, Virgin Galactic, Google, Northrop...
Reading the latest NASA news briefs, we know that they are developing the most advanced rocket and spacecraft ever designed for the manned Mission to Mars, planned for sometime before the end of the next decade. Read more about NASA's Orion spacecraft that will carry four astronauts and provide an entirely new national capability for human exploration beyond Earth's orbit.
Just this past week, the BBC reported that the European Space Agency is actively discussing building a village on the moon. China is also actively moving forward with their lunar exploration program. Russia, India, and others are also planning other ventures that are sure to be unveiled in the near future.
As I've written before, we are currently in the process of transitioning from a Type 0 Civilization to a Type 1 Civilization. Some of the characteristics of a Type 1 Civilization include the capability of interplanetary spaceflight, interplanetary communication, and interplanetary colonization. For more detail, on the future of civilations, read Redefining Our Purpose as Civilization Keeps Evolving
Again, the race is now on to launch manned inter-planetary space missions and begin the first phase of a long process to colonize the planets in our Solar System. There's going to be some exciting times ahead for our children and grandchildren.
The planets of our Solar System currently include: