Mars has become the main focus of every major space agency in the world, and unlike the Space Race of the 20th-century, Russia and the United States aren’t the only players on the field. China, Europe, and even the United Arab Emirates have Mars missions planned for the near future, as well as Russia and the United States. Coincidentally, all five of the missions are expected to be conducted in 2020, but this is only partially coincidental.
2020 is set to be a good year for Mars exploration. The United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Europe and Russia all have planned Mars missions that are scheduled to launch, or likely to launch, in that year. There have been more than 40 missions to Mars throughout history. Some of these missions were failures, while others completed their goals and are no longer operational. Today, there are two operational robots on the Martian surface and five operational orbiters circling the planet. To date, all successful missions to Mars have been completed by four entities: NASA, the Soviet Union, the European Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organization. Japan and China have tried and failed. In about five years, UAE and China hope to join the ranks of nations who’ve successfully explored Mars, while NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are planning ambitious missions to expand their Mars exploration capabilities.