Lately, there has been more peer discussion about how we go about searching for life off planet earth. A few places within our solar system were identified as good targets to begin the search for life, among them: the Moon, Mars, Titan and Enceladus. We need to begin the search with patience.
Our Moon is the closest celestial body to us. The LRO is currently taking pictures, but a new mission to establish an out post on the moon should begin. Why not get very good about getting to and from the Moon, to the point that it would be a viable place from which to launch and return missions to Mars? As construction of the lunar base is underway, Moon-based reconnaissance missions to explore the terrain should be conducted, as well, using the LRO photos as guides. The Moon's lava tubes should be mapped.
From the Moon we should go to Mars, again with the mission of establishing a permanent outpost for missions further into the galaxy.