You can put me in the theoretical physics camp in terms of supporting fact versus fiction. I am firmly in support of exploration of the Cosmos, the study of the Universe, and much of the science, technology, and engineering that is involved in understanding and interpreting the environment surrounding and extending far beyond the Earth. In fact, I am fascinated by those things and inspired by what scientists and great thinkers engaged in the great endeavor accomplish over time.
My point of view is that science fiction has to be kept separate from actual science. I like science fiction. Sometimes I thoroughly enjoy it. As entertainment, it is in no way a scientific process though such entertainment may be informed by real science at times. I have my own personal beliefs and thoughts that are not accepted as scientific. Beyond that, there are other concepts normally affiliated with science that seem dangerous.
Colonizing Mars with people given the advancement of technology today is not science. It is science fiction. The reality is, there is not a reliable framework for sustaining people on Mars and environments like it. Mars would be a great way to export a population. Death is more likely on Mars.
I have spoken about this in a polite and careful way in the past. The news article, Let’s Not Go To Mars, brought to my mind the idea that people are taking the pursuit of Mars more seriously than things like a mining asteroids for water using sunlight. It is not like past pilgrimages that took place on different parts of the same planet Earth. Rather, you are going to construct a dome enclosure, fill it with oxygen and have people live indoors their entire lives. While it is true some people may do that on Earth, they do have the option of going outside. You do not have that option on Mars.
The idea of going to Mars is an important topic. It tests the extent to which our concept of science has become misinformed by science fiction. Such entertainment can inspire people into science, engineering, and technology as happened with productions like Star Trek. However, once involved in such endeavors, it becomes imperative to pursue such things for the rational process it is. Choose that and not an indirect program of social engineering that in some cases can go very wrong in the continued existence of living people.