I'd like to take this opportunity to present an argument against sending a manned mission to Mars. They don't seem to want us there and they have a lot of missiles.
Why do we really need to conquer Mars anyway? Aren't we having enough problems taking care of the planet we already have? Conquering another planet would be sort of like buying a new Hummer when you still owe forty grand on the Benz and only make thirty thousand a year. Which is what everyone seems to be doing these days anyway. Maybe Mars will become the new trendy place to be, clearing the Earth of all the Hummer-owning Paris Hilton wannabes.
For that to happen, Mars will need several small cafes that allow patrons to bring their purse dogs which can take turns being the hip place to be seen eating lunch. Some sort of collective bargaining agreement will be worked out to allow the others to stay in business until their turn comes around, since no one will want to be caught dead eating in them until that happens.
Mars will also need exactly one judge who is not impressed by wealth or fame and will hand out appropriate punishments, giving the rich and famous a chance to spend some time in a minimum security facility and work on their book about how they've seen the light and will now use their money and influence for causes like collecting Donna Karan sweaters and Gucci backpacks for small dogs from underprivileged families.
Of course, no one can be famous without the tabloid media to remind everyone else that they are indeed famous. If we're lucky, Mars will attract all of the Earth's fame whores, meaning there will be no reason for Mark McGrath or any paparazzi to stay behind. Meanwhile, the expense involved in transmitting shows like Extra and Inside Edition to Earth will prove prohibitive, meaning fans of those shows will have to strap rockets to their trailers and relocate to the red planet in order to view them.
With all of its undesirable elements removed, Earth will enter a new Golden Age. Those remaining on the mother planet, sensing an opportunity to make sure things never revert to the way they were, will plant several powerful bombs deep within the bowels of Mars and blow it the hell up.