How much will it cost to soft land one bulldozer safely on Mars?
A battery electric robotic bulldozer, custom built for Mars conditions, plus a solar power array big enough and a repair shop and equipment and spare parts and robots to do repairs or else include a whole lot more equipment and supplies to support people, and etc - these kinds of machines are subject to intense wear and tear and are only sustained with continuing maintenance and repair.
You are correct in that the cost of setting up a permanent habitation on Mars is extremely expensive. I cannot fathom any business model that would allow such an enterprise to make money. Travel to Mars will remain a purely scientific endeavor for a very long time.
I like this video a lot.
asteroid impact threatSo far, in Earth orbit, there is always a "lifeboat" available to get back to the Earth's biosphere quickly if something goes wrong with the habitat pressure or atmospheric gas concentrations. And, there are regular resupply launches from Earth for long-duration missions.
From low Earth orbit, getting back safely to Earth' surface would take only a matter of a couple of hours. From the Moon, getting back safely to Earth is a matter of days. From Mars, it is about a year.
So, when we get to the moon, that is going to be substantially different in terms of cost to make both the supply missions and the "Plan B" support when there are problems with life support systems. The astronauts will need to be able to rely on what is already there when things go wrong. There will need to be more redundancy, at greater expense, to keep risk down to acceptable levels. That means a lot more equipment and materials need to go along with or even before the astronauts, when they go to the Moon and Mars.
Probably not, because the soil contains toxic levels of perchlorates to both humans and plants, which would make terraforming extremely difficult because anything used to terraform would have to be sent and operated from Earth. Also, because of the perchlorates killing off any plants, making the atmosphere breathable would be impossible.Will, we ever be able to able functionally live on Mars? It's a simple question with so many complex answers to match.