Where the race to space in the 60s was originally spurred in part by the knowledge that the Earth was to experience another passage of the 12th Planet in its near future, this factor is almost solely responsible for the Mars exploration fever of the late 90s.
Back then NASA felt they had time to learn how to establish space stations far from the cataclysms the Earth was to undergo, and was smugly confident that the US taxpayers would be forced to pay for the personal escape route the elite at NASA and in the establishment fully intended to use when the time came. After the Apollo 13 disaster, retrenching occurred and the Earth itself was looked upon as the best refuge. However, it has recently been determined that the escape routes planned for the elite on Earth are not as safe as expected. Manmade excavations at installations such as Mount Weather are at great risk of collapsing and entombing the smug elite who rush there, slamming the door to safety in the face of the taxpayers who paid for these retreats. Thus, a temporary safe haven on the surface of Mars now again looks like the best bet.
In that mankind has been quarantined from encounters with the giant hominoids from the 12th Planet, as we have explained, so that the enslavement of mankind that used to occur in the past would not be re-instituted, such manned flights to Mars will Not Be Allowed to succeed. Quarantines are effected by subtle means. Accidents, often after a period where success seemed close at hand, occurred. This tends to devastate the backers more than constant failure. As mankind is scarcely able to live in space, and has not mastered maintaining mankind in this environment, there are many obstacles to getting to and living on Mars in the first place. Thus, we hardly have to step in, as they are failing already! But should they appear to be succeeding, technological failures will occur. The series of mishaps that occurred in 1996 and accompanied the rush to place man on Mars are not accidents, as those at NASA are aware.
Thus, as the anxious elite contemplate being stuck on the scary surface of the Earth along with all the taxpayers they meant to leave behind, they will increasingly discover solutions for safety on Earth, and will embrace these. Whether this sudden rush to arrange for safety on the surface translates into assistance for the much abused taxpayer, who is expected to pay for these self-serving maneuvers of the elite, is yet to be seen. Where the message is that manned space flight to Mars will not be allowed, probes that will simply explore the surface will not be interfered with. In particular, probes that promise to further the Awakening, by exploring past evidence of intelligent life on Mars, will be allowed. These were precisely the areas squelched in the past by NASA, so this turn of events is a bitter pill to swallow.