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Mars only doesn't have anyone there the first time.

What makes you think the interaction between the first and second wave of colonists wouldn't run into all the same problems that we had on Earth?

(Not that I believe there will be any waves of colonists. It'd be easier, and have a better social ROI to make the ocean floor, Antarctica, Mount Everest, or San Francisco hospitable to human life, than it would be to settle Mars.)

I think the motive for Mars colonization is more robustness than efficiency. It'd definitely be easier to colonize the ocean than Mars. However, many planetary extinction events that would spare Mars would still wipe out settlements on the ocean floor, Antarctica, Mount Everest, or San Francisco. Asteroid impact, worldwide plague, nuclear winter, global warming, Chinese dictatorship, Terminator 3, Waterworld, The Core, Interstellar, they would all wipe out Earth while leaving Mars untouched. Even scenarios like Independence Day, Battleship, and Transformers would give a Mars colony time to react while the aliens were busy wiping out Earth, which might mean the difference between human survival and extinction.

If you think that a Chinese dictatorship (or any of the other things you listed) will wipe out the Earth and leave Mars untouched, I would recommend reading fewer comic books. (And I'm a bit surprised that a zombie outbreak wasn't one of the listed threats.)

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