NASA is working on a couple interesting things, The “space launch system” is described as “the world’s most powerful rocket“, with the aim of lifting components that can eventually be assembled into vehicles for deep space exploration. That’s right, we’re talking about a spaceship, about a decade out or so.
For those destinations farther into the solar system, including Mars, NASA envisions a deep space transport spacecraft. This spacecraft would be a reusable vehicle that uses electric and chemical propulsion and would be specifically designed for crewed missions to destinations such as Mars. The transport would take crew out to their destination, return them back to the gateway, where it can be serviced and sent out again. The transport would take full advantage of the large volumes and mass that can be launched by the SLS rocket, as well as advanced exploration technologies being developed now and demonstrated on the ground and aboard the International Space Station.
This second phase will culminate at the end of the 2020s with a one year crewed mission aboard the transport in the lunar vicinity to validate the readiness of the system to travel beyond the Earth-moon system to Mars and other destinations, and build confidence that long-duration, distant human missions can be safely conducted with independence from Earth. Through the efforts to build this deep space infrastructure, this phase will enable explorers to identify and pioneer innovative solutions to technical and human challenges discovered or engineered in deep space.