Here is a 1 hour, 20 minute video of Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the science, economics, and politics behind space travel. Near the end of the video they talk briefly about the United Arab Emirates plan to go to Mars. Could it be the beginning of another Space-Race? President Trump has been saying he wants to send people to Mars too.
I just say, whoever goes to Mars should probably consider sending some supplies before sending people. It couldn't hurt to do a few automated landings (or crashes) to at least establish a cache of resources for the first wave of space explorers. In particular they'll need Oxygen, Drinkable Water, Food, Shelter, and at the very least some means of cleaning and recycling their Water and Oxygen. It's colder than Antarctica on Mars, so they'll also need a way to heat their shelters. And that's just the bare minimum requirements for standing on Mars without dying, the first Settlers will definitely want to do more interesting things than just that.
They'll also need a way to simulate the Earth's Gravity, because Mars has about 38% as much gravity as Earth, and staying on Mars (or in space) for a long time can lead to bone and muscle tissue problems. I'm sorta reminded of those spinning rides they have at fairs and amusement parks, maybe with less gravity they'll be able to make buildings that spin to simulate gravity (like those spinning space stations in the movies). Or maybe it would be more economical to construct such a building into an existing crater; it wouldn't need to be a tall structure, it would just need to be wide to generate artificial gravity from its rotation.
If they settle near an area on Mars where there's ice on the surface of the planet, then they could use that Ice for more than just drinking. At the natural temperatures on Mars, ice could be melted and reformed into a construction material. Ice probably wouldn't be ideal for heated areas of a human habitat, but it could work perfectly to create a thick outer dome just like a giant igloo that could be pressurized with an oxygen-based atmosphere. The fundamental ingredients in water (hydrogen and oxygen) can also be used to create rocket fuel.
However the science of possibilities is one thing, but economics and politics are a different story as Neil deGrasse Tyson explained. Personally, I think whoever gets to the Moon at least will be able to sell Moon Rocks for millions if they market the hype the right way. An actual piece of the Moon could be worth more than its weight in gold simply because of it's natural rarity. If they play their cards right, the early space settlers could make a huge profit selling space dirt like it was diamonds.