There are talks or rumors about NASA and private organizations designing a spaceship to take humans on a one-way course to Mars for research and development. The reason that it's a one-way course is that there wouldn't be a way for these humans to make it back to Earth with the current technology. Going to the Moon has been done before and many times in the past with the past technology; therefore it's more than possible to colonize the Moon than say, Mars, for short-term planning so that astronauts have the practice to one day try to make it to Mars and colonize there. Although the Moon and Mars are completely different in environment, gravitational force and climate, attempting to colonizing the Moon first would give a better outlook on whether colonizing another planet can be possible. At the same time, colonization of the Moon can give scientists more time to research on a surface that has been studied for so long but from such a far distance.
It is the most critical part to space exploration. We need a base like the moon that is close and has very little gravity so that we can make it easier to launch into deeper space and also would help with learning how to colonize other planets such as mars or possibly a planet further out in space.