In this handout provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, a sweeping panorama combining 33 telephoto images into one Martian vista presents details of several types of terrain visible on Mount Sharp from a location along the route of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. The component images were taken on Mars by the rover’s Mast Camera, April 10, 2015.  (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images)

The U.S. has set an ambitious goal of sending humans to Mars by the 2030s as part of its efforts to open up new avenues of space exploration, President Barack Obama said, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 11, writes Lalit K. Jha. – @siliconeer #siliconeer #Future #Space #Science #BarackObama #NASA #MissionMars

“We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America’s story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time,” Obama said in an op-ed in CNN.

“Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we’re already well on our way. Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station,” he said as he laid out plans for his ambitious goal.

President Obama convened a meeting of some of America’s leading scientists, engineers, innovators and students in Pittsburgh to dream up ways to build on the progress and find the next frontiers.

Just five years ago, U.S. companies were shut out of the global commercial launch market. Today, they own more than a third of it.

More than 1,000 companies across nearly all 50 states are working on private space initiatives, he noted.

“The next step is to reach beyond the bounds of Earth’s orbit. I’m excited to announce that we are working with our commercial partners to build new habitats that can sustain and transport astronauts on long-duration missions in deep space.

These missions will teach us how humans can live far from Earth—something we’ll need for the long journey to Mars,” Obama said.