Yes, but I want the majority of activity in space to be private merchants, not Navy/NASA. The government should only be sending astronauts for specific missions that accomplish missions which cannot be done with robots, such as colonization.
In other words, NASA might send men to an asteroid to test ways of getting there for the purpose of diverting one if necessary, but any mining operations should (imho) be done by private miners.
First you have to prove it commercially viable. We have yet to do that after 50 years. All that time, and we are just now
getting a few start-ups interested in lofting payloads to LEO (with
That wouldn't bother me. We should have habitation modules, and a fleet of fully reusable NASA heavy lift boosters.
We can't support them. Not on .52% of the national budget.
I would want a future where men are going into space every day. That much activity would require infrastructure to be built, over time.
It will only happen if we can find a less expensive way to LEO.
However, with any of these activities, the primary goal would not be science. Science can be done with robots. You send humans when humans are needed, not just for the sake of having humans there for general purposes. So, if our intention in putting a NASA base on the moon is to create a commercial presence there for tourism, industry, etc., fine. But if the purpose is just to explore, we don't need to send humans there to do that.
We have a lot of "science"
to do yet, just to keep humans alive in space long term. I think you are, for some strange reason, not considering astrobiology as a science. You simply can't do the science without humans in that arena.
Apollo turned out to be a dead end, in my opinion, because there is no colonization to do there. It doesn't have the natural resources that Mars has. The only reason to go to the Moon is science, and possibly space tourism, but neither of those require NASA astronauts. If you want to put a radio telescope there, for example, that could be done with robots. Hence, we didn't have a compelling reason to continue going to the moon.
The reason Apollo died, is because the American people had the attitude of "been there done that", no other reason. After the fiirst couple of lunar landings, Americans, lost interest. We beat the Russians, end of story. This is an inherent problem with any "boots and flags" approach. I lived through that era and watched it. There just was no popular support for a moon base. As for the resources
you keep continually bringing up, they can all be procured elsewhere, without the gravity well and distance penalty (meaning, lunar, asteroids, etc.) I really would like to know where there is any advantage in resources that can't be procured elsewhere.
With Mars, on the other hand, if you want to go there and declare some section of it to be US soil, so people can buy land and go there to raise a family, build businesses, etc., that would require sending humans.
Once again (I forget how many times):
1. You can't realistically claim Mars. As a country we can't support it, can't afford it, can't protect it. Therefore, you can claim it all you want, but can't sustain the claim.
2. Nobody is going to invest trillions of dollars for someone else to have "40 acres and a mule", period. Any congressman that even brought it up, would very quickly be silenced, either by his/her colleagues, or by being voted out of office (if not laughed out).
3. No individuals, not even the most wealthy, are going to do what you propose (as far as buying land) and even if they would, even they couldn't afford to. Especially when they could get the same thing buying land in Arizona or the Australian Outback, have the same quality of land, with
water, and with convenient shopping
The only way we are ever going to have sustainable colonies, is as a gradual outgrowth, over an extremely long time, of infrastructure building, commercial developoment, and exploiting other resources elsewhere for many years. There is simply way too much "low hanging fruit" in this solar system, that doesn't require dragging it up through a gravity well and atmosphere. There are simply way too many rocks floating around that are only marginally less habitable than Mars.
As for terraforming, once again, nobody is going to start an investment that has anywhere from a 150 yr to 50,0000 yr ROI. That doesn't even address the people that think such a thing is a criminal idea
and we should keep Mars "pristine",
cause it is against nature