SpaceX his hell-bent on sending humans to Mars, but so is one of the commercial space company's most significant competitors: Lockheed Martin. In fact, Lockheed Martin will collaborate with NASA to develop the first Martian Space Station by 2028.
It doesn't have an official name yet, but the Martian space station would hold up to six astronauts at one time. Those onboard the spacecraft could then make observations of Mars up close, and discern the best landing spots for the first human visitors just a few years later.
The space station could also act as a go-between and shelter for when astronauts visit Mars' surface in the future. Specialized shuttle-like landers could take astronauts from the space station to Mars' surface, and vice-versa on temporary exploration missions.
Although it's not under construction just yet, there are plans to start building the space station by 2021. NASA's Space Launch System rocket will ferry individual pieces of the space station to space so they can be assembled and sent to orbit the red planet afterward.
It's a great time to be alive... if you're fascinated by space exploration technology, that is.