NASA is in the planning phases for some Mars missions in the second half of the decade, and it's pulling some budget from other projects to make these missions happen. We expect to hear a lot about NASA's plans for Mars over the next few years — NASA is budgeting about $700 million for Mars Next Generation and hopes to launch the program in either 2018 or 2020. This new mission will be a replacement for the ExoMars mission that NASA had planned to undertake jointly with the European Space Agency and Russia in 2016 and 2018 — the budget for that mission was cut by the White house a few weeks ago. However, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said that these setbacks wouldn't deter the agency from making Mars a focus: in a letter to Capitol Hill from early February, he wrote that "NASA is committed to develop an integrated strategy to ensure that the next steps for the robotic Mars exploration program will support science, as well as longer-term human exploration and technology goals."

To fund the new Mars Next Generation project initially, NASA is pulling some $34 million from some outer planets projects, with another $20 million coming from money left over from the ExoMars mission. And while NASA won't be partnering with Europe and Russia on this particular project, Bolden did say in his letter that NASA will "actively seek the collaboration of our international partners" on the Mars Next Generation Project. Here's hoping that this latest Mars project doesn't run into similar budgetary issues down the line.