SpaceX’s “Red Dragon” concept envisions using a Dragon spacecraft with only minor modification to land on the surface
of Mars as a precursor to later human missions.

Red Dragon vs. Red Tape

On April 27, SpaceX announced it was pressing ahead with plans to send a spacecraft to Mars. In a brief announcement — just a few tweets by the company and its chief executive, Elon Musk — SpaceX said it planned to launch a version of its Dragon spacecraft, without a crew, on a Falcon Heavy as soon as 2018 to land on the surface of Mars.