I’m insanely excited about the BFR, moreso than the ITS because the BFR looks like it’s ready to go.
I don’t know why everyone’s whining about Mars or Moon first: it’s not up to you. The answer is “we’ll get to both in due time.” In case you haven’t noticed, the system is designed for BOTH.
Elon Musk wants to go to Mars by 2022. Maybe he’ll land on the moon first. Maybe someone will want to go to the moon or contract for the moon and he’ll launch a vehicle there first.
The thing is, we’ve already been to the moon, so in a sense, this debate has already been settled. We’ve done the moon. There’s no need to land on the moon to go to Mars so if you want to go to Mars you just go. Why drop yourself in another gravitational well?
The trip to Mars is already well outlined better by Elon Musk himself than anyone here could hope to possibly argue:
Send up two BFRs, refuel them until they’re fully refueled, land them on Mars, end of story. You don’t need to go to the moon with this system and Elon Musk will very likely privately fund his own expedition to Mars with SpaceX funds. So, I really, really don’t see the debate. And, if the BFR is down to even an order of magnitude above the cost expectation they’re aiming for, it’s a bit like arguing about whether or not you should fly to Hawaii on your way to Argentina due to feasibility concerns (in this day in age): totally irrelevant.
Knowing spacex, they’ll probably do a lunar landing first to learn more about landing on Mars, but for the most part, actually flying your fully fueled spacecraft to Mars vs. the moon isn’t much different: the landing on Mars is going to be trickier, but getting into orbit around either one is pretty similar.
So, the moon doesn’t even represent particularly good practice for Mars.
As for habitation, it does a bit more. But with BFR, we should be able to do a moon and mars base at the same time.