Mark, I think we should explore space and we should send more people into space. I think it would be great to send people to Mars. I don’t find any of your three reasons compelling, you come close on the tech development and exploration rationale except Mars does not have to be the target for those. We don’t have to send people to Mars to look for life, how long did you think the Mars Astronauts would have to look for life there and with what tools. Please keep up you stories here, I will follow you.
I would like to see us develop an interplanetary engine, personally I like a solar thermal steam rocket engine.
I would like to see us spend more time building large structure in space.
I think I would rather send more people sooner to the Moon than send people to Mars. I would like to see a permanent base on the moon and a bigger station travelling between Earth and the Moon, maybe on an Apollo 8 type trajectory.
I think we could meet you timeline for going to Mars but I think that we would be shooting our whole wad for too small a prize. I want something more permanent.