And exactly why are they wasting my money on THIS exactly? We just had a Mars mission that far exceeded expectations so why send this one I see no reason to go there in person with a national debt nearing $10 trillion dollars.
The question, rather, should be why shouldn't we spend money on this just because we're in debt because of a ton of bullshit expenditures elsewhere?
For those that care to do the research, there have been tons of spin-off technologies developed for space travel and exploration that have literally come to ground and improved things here.
In the recent past I saw a forum user on some other boards make the observation that as Americans we do bigger things, not necessarily better things. In many cases this is correct; doing things bigger is seared into the American psyche, and it's not always a good thing. In fact it often isn't; from the size of the huge vehicles that we trundle down our world's-largest highway system with (and I for one am glad this era is finally in its twilight with the price of crude oil), to the massive portions that our restaurants, particularly our fast food industry slops into a styrofoam container or just plain wastes.
But NASA; our national space program, but also our private enterprise that is beginning to pick up the pace and bridge the technological gap, sometime alone and sometimes with international partnership, does do bigger and better
The world that we live in is in a state of transition, and it takes but a look out your window to see it. The world most of will us die in will not be the same one we are currently living in, and in some instances that will be a good thing.
I've seen an article just last night on television that some indigenous tribes within the US, historically deprived of their native lands often at gunpoint or through deceit, has acquired the wealth and means to buy large tracts of lands and are letting it return to the prairies and other undeveloped lands that it used to be. Before the European settlers, before the cities, before the shopping malls and apartment complexes.
The trends I am seeing have been confirming the suspicions I have had for years now; as we adjust our ways of life to deal with dwindling resources and increasing threats to the environment, the answers will be both old and new.
The technological machine that our so-called developed nations have been constructing in the past century has its merits. As we turn to old world and saner solutions, we will also find a fusion with new and radical technologies. Old and new; this is the world which we shall inherit, and my nerves twitch at the prospects and opportunities which it may bring us.
The internet in front of you right now, for example, is one thing that will not just survive but thrive in the 21st century. As fuel prices increase globally, more and more businesses will see the need to get teleconferencing going as their main line of communication, and to get workers to work from their home whenever possible.
The space program; not just the American space program but all national and international space programs is the way of the future. The technologies that will continue to spin off of it will keep finding ways to improves our lives here and our relationship with the planet.
But as humans there always comes a point when we tire of simply gazing longingly at the horizon, and find a way to pick up and travel there to see what lies beyond it. It was true of Neolithic Man that wondered what lies beyond his home in the plains and jungles of Africa, it was true when Columbus, Magellan and Marco Polo set sail to see what lie beyond the boundless blue seas, and it's going to continue to be true long after we're all gone.
It's been said that Earth is our cradle, and one cannot live in the cradle forever. But it's way more important than even that; without that next horizon to reach we just stop; we stop as a culture and civilization. Colonizing other worlds in inevitable, even if I daresay it, a manifest destiny. It's part of what we do and who we are, and we live in the greatest age yet; the one where the borders of our own world are becoming too confining and we have the means after thousands of years of civilizations to do something about it.