"The Martian," director Ridley Scott's new film about an astronaut stranded on Mars, is reportedly set in the year 2035; right around the time NASA expects to be sending manned missions to the red planet. As Buzzfeed recently noted, a little time spent on Twitter reveals people who not only think we've already set foot on Mars, but that Matt Damon's rescue mission is based on something that actually happened.
So no, we haven't quite made it to Mars just yet –– but that doesn't mean tremendous effort isn't underway to turn science fiction into reality. One only has to glance at this recent gorgeous snapshot by the Mars Curiosity rover to understand why the red planet is next on our list of places to explore in person.
As for whether or not we'll reach Mars around the time Matt Damon's character gets stranded, even "The Martian" author Andy Weir has his doubts.
"I think it'll be more like the 2050s," he recently told Computer World. "Realistically, I think the first manned mission to Mars will be a global effort. It will be a big, old global effort."
Weir adds that his view is based on the last couple decades and just how few resources have been committed to space exploration.
"How many advancements in space have we had in the last 20 years? We built the International Space Station and we canceled the shuttle program," he said. "I just don't see all the advances necessary for a manned Mars mission happening in the next 20 years."