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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: Just imagine instead of building armies, weapons and bombs if only countries invested in space programs...

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