A flight to Mars with people aboard is the next big thing scientists and researchers from all over the world are looking forward to. AS per the European Space Agency and the NASA it will be another 15 years before this dream is achievable. The 2-year long journey is a long travel time and needs a good amount of preparation before it can be commenced. The people who would board the flight would have to be suitable equipped and trained for this long journey.
A major concern for embarking a tedious expedition like this would be the absence of pitstops on the way. The ESA director general John Woerner talks about the plans of setting up lunar research laboratories that are equipped with 3D printing technology, on the way to Mars.
These moon villages would not only be a stopover for refueling on the way to Mars, and also equipping these colonies with a Mars environment as testing grounds for preparing the humans to land on the surface of Mars. The idea is to 3D print moon rock and other creation and build an environment similar to that of Mars. Since there is no flora and civilization on that planet, is important to 3D print and create surroundings to replicate those conditions.
Elon Musk of Tesla Motors plans to have an unmanned mission to Mars executed by 2018 and thereafter the human travel commencement by 2030. But Warner states that funding is a big factor and though numerous communities are interested in joining hands for this project, where a moon village can be created and activities like tourism, site research, mining and similar activities can be executed, there will still be a long time before these ideologies become a reality.