Everytime I hear or read about Mars, its either the NASA or Elon Musk that comes to my mind.
What about Musk ?
Musk isn’t a scientist or an engineer. He’s got a bachelor’s in business-physics and access to a lot of money. He does not make intelligent or practical decisions. His enthusiasm for space travel is misguided profiteering. Luckily for him, people need satellites.
What about Mars ?
We have no business being on Mars and although we could scrounge up a manned there-and-back expedition right now, little more would come from it. You want to kill the space program for good, by all means go to Mars.
There are no long-term advantages of a Mars mission. We cannot establish a presence there and have no reason to do so. We do not have the capital or the technology or the biology to live on its surface or under its surface. We evolved with skeletal and circulatory systems specific to withstanding Earth’s gravity, and we cannot survive for years in low-g environments (Mars has 38%g). We cannot procreate in low-g environments, we get debilitating osteoperosis and radiological birth defects. We cannot ever return an atmosphere to Mars. It isn’t just a matter of its composition, it’s that its core has long since solidified and it cannot produce a stable magnetic field. Ever again. We can’t harvest resources from Mars.
At 10K USD per pound of matter we put into orbit, we could never conceivably bring back enough material to return cost on the fuel, because the greater the mass of that material, the greater the fuel (this is the fuel-mass paradox), to say nothing of the mass of excavation equipment and domiciles that withstand its sandstorms.
And Mars’ surface materials already exist on Earth in abundance anyway. We wouldn’t be able to solve any of these problems even with another ten thousand years of technological advancement.