I heard an on-air debate about the merits of the program in light of the explosion of the SpaceX starship rocket on April 20th.
Viewpoints were of course varied. They included the “we have this beautiful planet already and it makes no sense to be spending so much to go elsewhere” and very much focused on “colonising” the solar system with the viewpoint that this involves potentially many wealth people leaving Earth. Also discussed with the idea Mars could have had its own civilization in the past, and questions as to who owns space.
The points I feel should be highlighted:
The beautiful planet took 4 billion years before humans could survive on it without a spacesuit, won’t support us for much longer, and will become inadequate after the next big step for humanity.
Yes, we need to expand beyond Earth, and doing so takes many steps, and will take way longer than most people realise. All that we are working towards at this point is the possibility of some small outposts on the Moone, Mars or elsewhere in vast solar system that has no existing place other than Earth that can ever be home to a significant number of humans.
Oh…and yes while there was some “spin” (rapid unscheduled disassembly?), it was stated in advance that expectations beyond getting off the ground were limited, and yes it did “self-destruct” rather than simply just “blow up”.