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[–] Mars_Hopper 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Yes and no. I agree with your sentiment. There is an amazing opportunity to learn from an untouched world and fucking that up right off the bat would be unscientific. But, like you said, mankind will probably go extinct at some point and that is the incentive to bypass the initial learning opportunity and go immediately to terraforming. I think the most practical course to take is to try and study as much of it as possible while terraforming. Terraforming is going to take, at the very least hundreds if not thousands, of years to terraform. While that is happening a significant effort to understand Mars as it was before we began colonization could be done. That way we learn as much as possible while keeping the existance of Man at the forefront of our efforts. I would rather change Mars and lose some of the scientific knowledge that could be gained but ensure that man continues to spread and survive. That is my view of it.