"If we don't get our act together, the first human on Mars will be Chinese," she says.
The United States has set a goal of landing humans on Mars by the mid-2030s, but a Dutch company has set a plan of trying to start the first human settlement there by 2023.
Either way, the space race may be back on.
In a statement, Bolden said "the wheels of Curiosity have begun to blaze the trail for human footprints on Mars."
Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org