Originally Posted by GB
But DS how do you know that that will not get us closer to curing an illness or something. Every discovery opens doors and understanding and this liquid water is a MAJOR discovery.
It's this speculative nature of the exploration that works against the 'gains from space travel' argument. It's not a directed exploration like the historical examples cited earlier.
Also, while some discoveries can be attributed to the space program, you cannot conclude these things would not have been invented sooner or later regardless. Also, consider that, if space exploration money had been spent differently, other great inventions may have resulted.
This is a subject I wrestle with. I realize that, looking at the "Big Picture", space exploration is important to the development of mankind. However, I often look a lot closer to home and think how much good that kind of money would do right now
, close to home
, for a lot of people
The 'space race' was brought to the forefront of the national consciousness as a political issue. The Soviets were beating us! It became a component of the cold war along with the Olympics and the arms race.
Every group of scientists wants money and priority for their research. Whether it's for disease, space, oceanic, volcanic, climatic, etc. research. They can all justify their needs and they are probably all right. We have to find a better way to prioritize our expenditures.
So I guess I'm coming down, not on either DS's or GB's sides, but squarly in the middle.