By Thaddeus S. Kaczor, Jr.Whenever the topic of space exploration comes up, neo-luddites always seem to rear their rock-swaddled heads and scream 'we could better spend that money HERE on EARTH!'. The Apollo program (by even the most conservative estimates) yielded roughly seven dollars in new technology, processes and other economic benefits for every one dollar spent! Space exploration is probably the most cost-effective expenditure the U.S. Government has ever made. I mean, you wouldn't have as advanced a computer (if one at all!) to post your anti-technology rants on if it weren't for the space program, and nearly every beneficial aspect of our modern society is built on a foundation laid by some aspect of the original space program. SO arguments against the benefits of a robust and vital space exploration program usually are politically-motivated and rarely are based in a factual costs/benefits analysis.
But this bias against the true benefits of scientific exploration is not limited to space. This irrational and emotional failure to actually comprehend what is right in front of us can be extended to criticism of ALL basic scientific research- as money 'wasted' on theoretical physics, biology and other esoteric areas will inevitably yield the next breakthroughs in energy, genetics or food production that will save countless lives, employ millions and increase the standard of living for all humanity.
Still, many cling to the false idea that we must 'choose' between research and 'spending here on Earth'. Let's look at this with a jaundiced eye: We can spend the money instead by propping up third-world dictators with 'humanitarian aid' that is either used as a weapon, or sold to actually BUY weapons. Or we can waste money trying to 'fight global climate change' by funding corrupt grant-chasing scientists and money-grubbing politicians joined at the hip with well-connected 'businessmen' who care not a whit about the environment, but only about increasing their own net worth by gaming a corrupt economic crony capitalist system to their own benefit. Or maybe we can pump more money into the hands of the corrupt international bankster junta so THEY can squeeze third, second and FIRST-world nations and drive all of humanity further into poverty and deeper into their dystopic control regime.
It's your choice. You can gather information and assess it based on the probable positive outcomes, both socially and economically. But please make it an INFORMED one, rather than a knee-jerk reaction based on propaganda and mis-information designed to further someone's ends that probably don't coincide with your own.