I don’t understand — will never understand — people who don’t support space exploration. Seems like a repudiation of a fundamental human urge for no good reason at all.
Yes, space is vast and inhospitable. We won’t by building Mars colonies any time soon. And we won’t be leaving the solar system soon. Perhaps ever*.
Just because something is difficult and doesn’t have obvious immediate rewards is the reason to do it.
The mindset of pulling back into our little shell and not seeing what’s out there over that vast horizon is the neoliberal outlook of only the next quarter mattering, the deification of immediate and tangible profit over any normal human desire.
People argue that it’s not economically viable. Even if that were true (which it isn’t), these same people will and did argue that it was inevitable that we parceled out billions and trillions of dollars to insurance companies, banksters (TARP), and either condoned or ignored outright financial calamaties like the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Hell, we could have had a dozen Mars colonies for the amount of money we’ve frittered away on those frauds and debacles alone.
*Though most people have a real problem conceptualizing deep time. A 787 hopping halfway across the world in 10 hours would seem utterly incomprehensibly magical to a human from 200,000 years ago. What can we do in another million if we survive that long? Who says we will even have physical bodies or finite life spans then? Etc.