What is the advantage of colonizing Mars before we colonize the Moon?

Why does it seem like NASA and SpaceX are more interested in Mars than the Moon? What does Mars offer beyond a challenge?

Sophia de Tricht, Co-founder and CEO of Pleiades Aerospace Services
Answered May 24 · Upvoted by James Knox, Former Launch Engineer at SpaceX, Andrew Houston Vaughan, and 2 others you follow

Sigh…

*rubs temples* Y’all are giving me a migraine with this…

Okay, sit down a minute. We’re going to talk it out.

Literally, and I mean literally literally, the only advantage to colonizing Mars before the Moon is that it stands a better chance of gaining broad support (funding issue) because we’ve never been there.

That’s it. Other than that, it’s a reckless idea bordering on homi/suicidal. Mars is a long way away, and we haven’t left LEO in coming up on 50 years. The moon is relatively very close, three days using Apollo era trajectories and tolerances. If I were the safety representative in a pitch meeting where you tried to sell me going to Mars instead of the moon, the first thing I’m going to do is ask you about your mid-course abort scenarios and watch your presentation break in half and sink like the mother-effing Titanic. I’d come to the meeting wearing a jacket with my kill count on it. Little crossed out rockets. If I get to five, I’m an ace.

The Moon is fine. There’s a lot we don’t know about the Moon, yet. We still haven’t been into the caves, at all. We still haven’t summited any of her peaks. We don’t know how to grow things on the moon, although it should be extremely doable. There’s enough to keep us busy on the moon for centuries and if something goes wrong, you can still recover your people. If something goes wrong on the way to Mars, you’re all dead.

What is one thing that a child said to you that you never expected a child to say?

Jo Eberhardt, Mother of two

When my son was 4 years old, we were lying down together so he could have a nap. He’d been quiet and still for a few minutes, so I assumed he’d gone to sleep. Suddenly he said: “Mummy, if I die before you do, I’m just going to wait until you die and then get born again and grow up so you can be my Mummy again next time.”

“Really, Sweetie?” I asked, feeling both touched by the depth of his love, and a little freaked out by the unexpected topic.

“Yes,” he said, snuggling closer to me. “Just like I did last time.”