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Given the rates of poverty and despair in even our most "advanced" nations and the onset of global warming, is space exploration prudent?

Is it really important to spend our limited resources on space programs while ecosystems are failing here and those same resources could be used to improve the lives of those we share the globe with? Is the carbon cost of space exploration worth the loss of ecosystems and resources it produces? Should developing nations follow more industrialized nations' examples by forsaking their disadvantaged for the amusement and luxury of their affluent?

Some miscellaneous reference:
http://blog.ted.com/2006/09/28/virgin_galactic/
http://blog.ted.com/2009/02/24/capt_charles_mo/
http://www.ted.com/playlists/67/the_quest_to_end_poverty.html

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    May 23 2013: If the rationale for funding space exploration is to find a new location to replace this doomed one, then yes, it is prudent. I cannot imagine any other rationale which would justify letting one person in seven starve to death while spending billions on space projects.
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      May 23 2013: Thanks for your comment.

      Would you say that programs like Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic or the Space X project are using resources efficiently, with the rationale of relocation for survival in mind?
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        May 23 2013: What private folks do is their freedom. If my tax dollars are being used then I have an opinion. The USA cannot force underdeveloped nations to teach their people to support themselves because it is considered aggression and imperialism. So we use the money to map Venus and roam around on Mars. As I said, if this planet is doomed, which I don't think it is, then we would be justified in scouting for a new terrestrial ball.

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