With all the things going on in the world how important is/should space travel be to humanity?
How high up is the sky? According to the best Hubble images, astrophysics and common sense, it's at least a hyper-staggering 13.2 billion lightyears straight up, in all directions. The current estimate for the age of the universe is 13.6 billion years, so we're THAT close to either confirming or denying that estimate. IOW, we ought not be able to see anything at all at 13.7 billion lightyears up, if the universe is indeed 13.6 billion years old.
NASA's funding isn't that much compared to many other government programs though it's higher than some others.Defenders of the space programs always cite the scientific advancements and inventions it's created. Yeah, that's what happens when you spend hundreds and hundreds of billion on scientific research but it would be the same if that money had been spent in other areas as well. That same money could have provide research for 10,000 other endeavors.
I work for a commercial satellite manufacturer. There is a huge business in commercial satellites. We are busy as can be and we keep signing new contracts.It's great that we have weather, communication and many other satellites which tell us things about the earth. And it may be worth the expense of going to the moon again just to collect helium 3.
But space travel to a place like Mars is a massive wast of money and resources until a better form of propulsion is developed.
It's a space pipe dream to think that we can colonize another planet with any meaningful purpose with the propulsion systems we have now.
Not to mention that something like 70% of the probe missions to Mars have failed and there's massive dangers to maned travel. Scientist, many of them anyway, are desperate to travel there to "prove" evolution and it's a fools errand.