For the past few months, I’ve heard the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, and the European Space Agency (ESA) extol the idea of sending people back to the Moon. In 2029 Roscosmos is planning
A manned flight to the moon and lunar landing. The ESA is more ambitiously creating a Moon Base, but they don’t have any timeline.
It was beginning to look like everyone, but NASA, had their sights set a little closer to home. Then this landed:
Planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will inform overall Mars architecture, details to come - SpaceX
In typical Elon Musk fashion, a huge claim sparse on details, but as the details started to flow it became apparent that his claim could come to fruition. The plan is to use the Falcon Heavy rockets (which are a larger variant of the rockets SpaceX has been successfully flying) to land its Dragon rockets. This approach is a substantial departure from what NASA has been attempting; currently, they can only land about two metric tons of payload, gently. Using a so-called Propulsive landing SpaceX can safely delivery much more weight.
The craziest part of the announcement is that SpaceX claims this could happen as early as 2018. Thats a full ten years before Roscosmos is going to the Moon.
The Verge has a much more in-depth article if you'd like to learn more.