I just read about the 450 million dollar Mercury satellite. I also read a bit about the tens of billions of dollars that go/went into the shuttle program. Why are we doing this? I would be lying if I said that I didn’t find space exploration fascinating, as most people do, but is it really a justifiable expense with our current levels of (expensive) technology?
Is there really ANY excuse to spend money/resources on space exploration today, as a society, when we are still suffering from poverty, hunger, cancer, AIDS, and a lack of education in many countries, etc? Wouldn’t all this money be better spent on more pressing issues? Is this really the right time in our history for the government to be using our taxpayer dollars on welfare/subsidies for the aerospace industry?
To be completely honest, I already know what some people will say in response to this - in the past I’ve spent several years of my life focusing on “pure science” research. It’s just that all the reasons I was given as to why it’s okay and good… well, I’ve thought some more about it, and it just doesn’t seem good enough. I really, truly, can’t find any justification for spending so much money on something that offers no tangible returns at any point in the near or even slightly distant future.
Sure, we should invest in the future in general, but don’t people think we should invest in the present first (ie fixing poverty, hunger, cancer, AIDS, education, etc)? Isn’t this the same as putting all your money into volatile investments, while at the same time failing to buy food and paying your rent?
I’d love to hear what people have to say about this.