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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 24 2013: On a world wide scale the carbon impact of space exploration is minimal. It is limited to the energy used to create the stuff. And from a fuel perspective as long as the electricity used to release the hydrogen and the aluminium is green then the whole system is prettty green. The total cost to society is a tiny fraction of that spent on the military. And probably a tiny fraction of that spent on entertainment. I wonder what the carbon impact of human recreation is.

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