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The successful landing, after a long journey and torrid descent, of the Mars rover Curiosity by NASA (North American Space Agency) has been greeted with excitement by geeks around the world. Curiosity has now begun its two-year mission to explore the surface of Mars and ultimately determine whether life in any form has ever survived out there on the red planet. And you can track its progress using these methods Curiosity Has Landed - 5 Ways You Can Follow What The Mars Rover Is Up To Curiosity Has Landed - 5 Ways You Can Follow What The Mars Rover Is Up To Let’s rejoice because Curiosity overcame the eight months space hop and the seven minutes of terror to land safely on Mars. Now, it will go about its business of finding out if Martians really exist…or... Read More .

Just about the only good thing to come out of World War II 10 Of The Funniest Hitler Reaction Videos (Downfall Parodies) Featuring Technology 10 Of The Funniest Hitler Reaction Videos (Downfall Parodies) Featuring Technology Downfall, or Der Untergang in German, is a film detailing the last days of World War II in April and May of 1945. It's an often uncomfortable portrayal of a dictator facing the end; of... Read More was the rocket technology that eventually led to us as a species conquering what James T. Kirk calls “the final frontier.” But what do you personally feel about the exploration of space, both in the past decades and at the present time? We Ask You what you think, and we hope you’ll be both honest and robust in expressing your views on the topic at hand.

This Week’s Question…

What Do You Think Of The Exploration Of Space?

I admit this is one epic question that could lead down a number of different routes. We must begin with the question of how you feel about the new Mars mission… are you excited at seeing a man-made object on the surface of Mars preparing to explore? Do you think Curiosity will turn up anything new and/or unexpected or will it just confirm what we already know or at least think we know?

Beyond that how do you think humanity – and I’m including more than just NASA in that – has done so far in exploring space. Do you think the whole idea is a pointless waste of time, money, and effort? Or should higher budgets be given to space programs around the world to launch shuttles, space stations, astronauts, and missions to distant planets and, eventually, other solar systems Get To Know The Universe With These Amazing Astronomy Websites Get To Know The Universe With These Amazing Astronomy Websites Very few of us are likely to ever make it into outer space, unless the various space tourism ventures become mainstream successes. Even then the price of being flown into space will be so high... Read More ?

Do you want to see us pushing the boundaries and taking risks in order to reach further out from our own tiny planet? Or are there more pressing concerns at home in the real world that you’d prefer were tackled first? This is your opportunity to air your views on humanity’s quest to reach beyond the stars, whether you think it should be the ultimate aim for our species or regarded as nothing but a sideshow.

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Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told UsOne reader will even win Comment Of The Week, which will be included in the follow-up post! What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to start a conversation. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Matthew Simantov

  1. Mr_Know-It-All
    August 24, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Hello, all.
    I know that some people have a [very] unrealistic view of this subject,
    just as I also did, back when the "space race" to the moon began.
    But since then, I've leaned a little.
    Many today no longer believe in God,
    partly because of the way science is presented in schools,
    and partly because of the so-called 'space program'.
    Not that the space program itself is at fault.
    No, the problem is,
    many people wrongly believe that God should solve all our problems.
    So, they see all that is wrong with us, and our societies,
    and many think that, since the problems go unresolved, there can be no God.
    Well, that's not true.
    Think how much *COULD* have been accomplished,
    towards solving humanity's problems,
    with the vast amount of money that has been wasted on space exploration, alone.
    Not even counting all the trillions of dollars wasted,
    on the 'scientific' end of the research.
    Literally,
    many trillions of dollars that *could* have eliminated many different diseases,
    feed many millions of starving children,
    or even been used to fund a truly "international peace-keeping force",
    to prevent the terrible 'ethnic cleansing' genocides.
    Even many so-called 'environmental disasters' could have been effectively dealt with, had the funding been available.
    But, no, it was not to be,
    simply because of the corrupt system of 'corporate welfare',
    that feeds trillions of dollars to various colleges and universities,
    and to the many multi-billionaire companies that have gotten incredibly wealthy,
    from their part in this great travesty.
    I know that some of you "believe" that 'humanity's future is in the stars'.
    That's pure BS.
    There's a reason many past predictions of future technological progress failed.
    You don't have 'flying cars',
    because the government doesn't trust you with a 'flying car'.
    "They" don't even trust you with a computer.
    "They" keep feeding you 'propaganda',
    all the while keeping you feuding among yourselves,
    about 'what kind of world do you want'.
    And the beat goes on. [Go listen to "We Didn't Start The Fire".]

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  2. Mark
    August 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Disappointing! Between the Moon landing when I was a small child and now there have been a few spectacular events, but overall the exploration of space has slowed to a snail's pace and is erratic at best.

    After landing on the Moon the next phase should have been the building of a space station and then a base on the Moon. These should have been accomplished within thirty years of the Moon landing. The space station supporting the building and supplying of the Moon base. After learning how to live on and use the resources of the Moon we would be ready to increase our reach and explore the other planets. Granted there would have been unmanned probes along the way as part of an integrated manned-unmanned project that would encompass the end of the century.

    Unfortunately, space exploration has not had a far reaching plan and the funding to support it. In comparison with the amount of money spent on War since the Moon landing, the exploration of space has cost NOTHING, but it has done quite a bit on what little funds it has received. IMAGINE what could be done if exploration was more important to mankind than war and a large amount of money was devoted to it on a regular basis.

    One day mankind will wake up and realize that they want more that war, killing, and death. And when you do, maybe you'll look up to the skies, and remember that you used to be able to see stars (not any more because of all the light pollution), and maybe you'll wonder what it would be like to visit those stars, and space exploration will begin in earnest. Until that day I wait in hope.

  3. Jack Waddington
    August 18, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    I have always been in favor of space exploration, and was bitterly disappointed when the United States ended the Moon landing missions. They had a tremendous lead over the rest of the world and, unquestionably, would have had settlements on Mars and several moons by now.

    When I first arrived in this country back in 1958, this country was the greatest in so many ways but now, when I compare the U.S. then with now, I cannot help feeling sad at the country's decline. Incredibly, it's rapidly becoming redundant to the rest of the world; and I truly believe the failure to forge ahead with Space Exploration was/is paramount in this decline.

  4. Benjamin Glass
    August 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I think that we should allocate a lot more money to our space program. We could clip it off the U.S. budget elsewhere.

    FYI: I would love to step on Mars someday!

  5. Elizabeth Sebastian
    August 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    OK, up front, this is going to be a REALLY "tl;dr" comment, but I trust MUO staff and its readers not to mind lengthy and comprehensive commentary, especially regarding the great developments of our time. :-)

    I think it's a wonderful thing -- one of the few things that sets us humans apart from other species is our innate inquisitiveness and our cognitive ability to solve such complex problems and answer the many questions that we as mankind pose each day. Not having been alive during the time when President Kennedy set a deadline for the end of the 1960s to send a manned American spacecraft to land on the moon's surface (I am fifteen), I still think that along with the tremendous advances made during the Civil Rights movements, space travel will go down as one of JFK's greatest, most notable legacies even despite his tragically abbreviated time in the White House.

    So I believe that travel to "the final frontier" could be construed as a metaphor for the shifting attitudes of the country (on Earth, obviously) at the time, the changing nature of American society that enabled *anyone* -- not just white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant heterosexual males -- to boldly go where they, too, had never gone before.

    Nowhere was this more evident than in the flights of Sally Ride, the first American female in space who just recently passed and will be greatly missed, and the tragic but daring mission of schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, who died along with the rest of her crew in the Challenger explosion in 1986. Sally and Christa were the Amelia Earharts of their time and an inspiration to all young women who dared to challenge the assumption that girls cannot -- and/or should not -- pursue scientific pursuits or engineering because "they're just not for girls."

    The "golden age" of space travel was not only a small step for a few men, but a giant leap for all of humankind and indeed, the American spirit of innovation and breaking down barriers to universal freedom. Indeed, it was emblematic of the cultural climate, the battle between the American fight for global liberty vs. the totalitarian regimes in World War II and the Cold War -- especially vs. the USSR, which was in a famed "space race" with the U.S. to develop the technology that many argued would have been used to dominate the globe.

    This trepidation about the burgeoning development of space technology and its use for political and military purposes was evident in the offerings of mainstream American popular culture, not just Star Trek but the James Bond films and Dr. Strangelove. Much of the material involving a "death ray" from outerspace was in fact propaganda/metaphor for our cultural fear of the "alien" (foreign) Soviet "evil eye" and its detrimental effects upon society.

    Note also that space travel and cultural curiosity about the universe is nothing new, seen obviously in the findings of Galileo, Bruno and Copernicus from centuries ago that led them to condemnation by the Roman Catholic church, and the classic works of fiction by such luminaries as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. A recent article in The New Yorker -- http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/08/13/120813crat_atlarge_gopnik -- even tells of the early beginnings of the Mormon church, in which angels were perceived as aliens, and both heaven and hell were described as other planets rather than vaguely located realms of "above" and "below."

    Unfortunately, the U.S. government of today seems to have forgotten all about the great strides made because of federal subsidizing of space travel and cut it out of NASA's budget.

    Yet we continue to waste taxpayer dollars on pointless government studies to study why we need more studies, on the overbloated salaries and "perks" allotted to elected officials, on government-sponsored bailouts of horrendously mismanaged private corporations, on legal battles over copyright about YouTube videos, mp3 downloads, and sites like The Pirate Bay (who themselves are reportedly planning to build an intergalactic BitTorrent satellite!), and on two ridiculous wars that were, IMHO, fought (and in the case of Afghanistan, are still being fought), ostensibly in the interest of "protecting our freedoms" but were really in the interest of protecting "American economic resources" -- namely, the Texas tin that made the Bushes aka Bodines so damn rich and put the illiterate cowboy rancher in office as leader of the free world.

    Like the old song said, war, what is it good for? Absolutely nothin'. All it did was lead us from infinity and beyond to an economic and social abyss. That combined with a fundamentalist right-wing distrust of science as "voodoo," and continual GOP vote-downs of scientific subsidies such as for stem cell research and genetic medicine as "ungodly wastes of taxpayer dollars" (except if that science is used for oil drilling) have done, arguably, just as much to quash American innovation as the far-left's disdain of independent entrepreneurship. Not to make this a political argument; I just am fed up with all the childish fingerpointing and nyah-nyah-ing I've seen in the political climate recently, and believe science ought to be a neutral faction removed from idiotic blame games and nun-style moralizing.

    I only hope that the privatization of space exploration as is currently being demonstrated with SpaceX and Sir Branson's Virgin Galactic will foster once again the culture of innovation that brought us so many developments in medicine, Internet and mobile technology, automobiles and other Earthbound travel instruments, and so much else, and won't be co-opted for evil, i.e. to use drone planes to destroy an entire village from up above, or to plunder the natural resources of other planets and celestial bodies for our own selfish gains. But I, like JFK, am a serial optimist who believes that the spirit of curiosity will lead us to follow our dreams for goodwill and Godspeed. :-)

    Ad infinitum et praterum. (I think I have that right.) To infinity and beyond. :-)

    • Benjamin Glass
      August 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      I could have done without the comment about "White, Heterosexual, Protestant males".

  6. Laga Mahesa
    August 18, 2012 at 4:27 am

    My position on this could be considered controversial.

    Concerns over Earth's environment and miscellaneous regional issues are shortsighted, and mostly politically motivated, with no concern about the long term consequences.

    Space exploration and exploitation needs to be prioritized over and above EVERYTHING ELSE. Humanity has all of its eggs in the one basket - just one missed asteroid, one botched power plant, and that's it for us, game over.

    Settle another world, first, move industry into space, and then worry about the environment.

    By settling another world, or even an asteroid, we could offload 20% of our population and thereby dramatically reduce population overload - creating space for green zones, reducing emissions, etc.

    Move production and materials to the Oort cloud... mining activities on Earth would drop to non-existent levels, again reducing emissions. This would help to clear up the atmosphere, which would dramatically help in forest regrowth and the general health of Earth's inhabitants.

    • Benjamin Glass
      August 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      I would agree with parts of your reply: the concerns over Earth's environment are MOSTLY shortsighted--no one wants to breathe in some things, like sulfur dioxide.

      I think that Earth is the perfect place for humans to live, but establishing human life on other planets and space objects might not be a bad thing. However, the cost of such ventures is currently astronomical (whoops, accidental pun). The moon, I think, might be a good first subject.

  7. Michelle
    August 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I think we (humans) need NASA, We don't need pretty pictures of other plants, but we could learn something. The money, so what, it's small as a percentage to the budget, but we shouldn't waist it either. And when it's spent in the U.S. on US products, that’s jobs for the USA.

    To me it's never been about the end destination (although that is the sweet part of it) that has made the space program worth it, it's been the journey and all that we've learned from it.

    I don't have a list, but I have read article after article over the years of things that NASA has invented, and how those things are used in devices we take for granted in our modern day life. I wander if anyone else would have thought of these things, or if it would have been possible to even discover them if it wasn't for NASA (and of course the military).

    How many people have job's in the private sector because of a NASA technologies? How many people are alive today because of a medical devices or drugs that came from NASA tech (I believe it was the c.a.t. scan that was invented using NASA technologies)?

  8. blackberrybison
    August 17, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    I think space exploration is awesome

  9. Vipul Jain
    August 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Earth will run out of resources sometime, better start finding alternatives.
    So yes, it's very important if human race doesn't want to go extinct.
    Other than that finding stars & researching on planets that have no resources/are non-inhabitant is purely waste of money & time!

  10. Koshy George
    August 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Why haven't we got a permanent lunar colony let.

  11. barry
    August 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    There are two very important key considerations regarding our choice whether to explore other worlds, **OR** to explore, understand, and manage our home planet. Number 1: gravity. And number 2: cosmic radiation and other inhospitable conditions on other worlds.

    To understand gravity, take some time and walk up the stairs of the highest building you can find. How did that feel? Now that is just you lifting one person just a few hundred feet. You'd have to do that for about 100 miles to get out of Earth's gravity. The energy required to lift anything out of Earth's incredible gravity well is enormous. As I said in a previous post, we humans have not discovered an energy source that can do that efficiently. Until that happens, forget about any kind of space exploration that goes beyond our current robotic missions--all of which are excellent. But **HUMAN** space exploration is still quite a silly idea.

    Number two: the reason why humans, and for that matter, virtually all life, flourishes on Earth is because we have a number of very fortunate features that come together here on Earth: oxygen, water, and a protective atmosphere and magnetic field. As far as we can tell, this does not exist anywhere nearby where we might explore (with current technologies). Any humans who were to go to try living on the moon or mars, would probably have relatively short lives. You cannot live on those places. You might as well try to live at the bottom of the sea or the top of Mount Everest. Maybe it's possible, but why?

    For these two big reasons, I think robotic missions such as the one to mars are wonderful, and all the various observational satellites are great. More viking like probes outside the solar system are needed. However, the idea of *HUMAN* space exploration should be shelved until we develop far more advanced energy sources, or a method of teleportation or faster than light travel. These may be a ways off.

  12. Caro
    August 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    "Just about the only good thing to come out of World War II was the rocket technology". So the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan and the freeing of millions of people in the occupied countries, especially those in slave labour and death camps, was not a good thing? You need to spend less time on technology and more time studying history.

    • Dave Parrack
      August 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      You've misread my meaning. I'm well aware of that period of history, but thanks for the advice. Anyway, what do you think about the exploration of space?

      • Caro
        August 17, 2012 at 3:19 pm

        Even if you only meant technology, it's a statement well open to challenge: http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/general/1286401/top-10-technical-innovations-of-world-war-2. I am hugely in favour of space exploration. I watched the first moon landing as a teenager, around the same time I discovered Asimov and Heinlein, and have been hooked ever since.The landing of the Mars Rover was an amazing achievement. Funding for these huge projects will come and go, depending on the political and economic environment, but mankind's innate drive to explore will ensure that we keep pushing back that "final frontier".

  13. GrrGrrr
    August 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I am not excited for space exploration. The amount of money that is spent/wasted on these explorations have not resulted into anything fruitful yet.

    Instead if the same amount of money would have been spent on EARTH, it would become benefit one & all.

    • Eric
      September 4, 2012 at 12:09 am

      I sincerely hope this is sarcasm.

      The money is spent on Earth, it's not like we're sending rockets strapped full of cash and shooting them into space.

      So, nothing has been fruitful? Xray technology isn't fruitful? Being able to see inside someone and diagnose conditions without cutting into them? What about closed support life systems? GPS? Weather Satellites? Like being able to find out where you are at all times, getting to your destination safely? What about being able to know when storms are coming so you can evacuate population centers? Yeah, saving thousands of lives isn't fruitful. Hear of Lasik? The technology has been around for decades, however the accuracy and precision now utalized which makes it so effective was actually founded upon the laser guided technology for spacecraft docking with the ISS.

      I could actually go on and on, and on. But really, maybe you should do a quick google search first. Did you know NASA by and large has a 3-1 return on dollars invested into it? Where else are you making that kind of return?

  14. Barry
    August 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    It's ok to send robots but the notion of human explorers will have to wait until we have much greater energy sources than mere chemical energy.

  15. Karl Couvillon
    August 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I will always support space travel, but I'm not expecting interstellar travel anytime soon. It has always taken the majority a long time to be convinced of a good thing. While that's good for the stability of civilization, it means slower growth in adventurous endeavors. All we can do is keep the idea in the spotlight, and try to convert a few of the next generation. Eventually, the minority will become the majority and we'll see some real advancement.

  16. Ryszard Grodzicki
    August 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

    We have started the exploration of space and we won't stop it. I also don't think that shifting the funding to private companies will be good.
    Firstly, USA is now pumping billions of dollars without any straight income from this so no one will give it's own money if he knows he won't get it back.
    Secondly, we certainly wouldn't want companies to wander around sapce and do what they want, take whatever lands on Moon or Mars they want and need. This could even lead up to wars and a repeat of a colonisation process like it was on earth.

  17. Mark O'Neill
    August 17, 2012 at 9:17 am

    As Brian said, NASA's budget is minuscule, and in the grand scheme of things, affects nothing here on Earth. So any politician who rattles on about "oh we're exploring space but old people are not getting their pensions" are just talking twaddle.

    We need to explore space. As the population explodes, as the Earth's resources begin to run out, and as space on Earth begins to run out, we need to start to find new planets and new resources to colonize. We need to see if there are any other civilizations out there who are more technologically advanced than us that can help us build the necessary ships that will enable us to move between planets.

    This isn't a matter of a flight of fancy, or a big adventure. This is a matter of simple survival. What if there was a nuclear war one day on Earth? Where would the survivors go? We need to be able to have other colonies in space so mankind can continue.

    • susendeep dutta
      August 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      I also agree with you that earth's resources will deplete soon.But our habits will destroy earth before its resources gets depleted.Moreover,if all humans improve their habits and express concerns about environment,the cost of living will increase to astronomical levels as the resources will become scare and imported ones from other planets will costs that much(astronomically).

    • susendeep dutta
      August 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Humans had progressed so much that it has reached space and plans to have a settlements there.But it's no profit to do so.Humans although can built a colony to have a oxygen all over there but what will happen when these oxygen deplete? It's simply waste of time,money and energy.We humans have emotions and will get bored there as we are social beings and need communication which will be sorely missed out and cost of living there will be at astronomical levels.Only super rich people will be able to live there for some time.

  18. R S
    August 17, 2012 at 5:48 am

    After we landed on the moon, what happened? Did no one bother to plan a "next step"? Why shift to the shuttle program, what was NASA's mission post-moon landing? Reagan redirected the focus of NASA's work and turned the space shuttle program into a bus service for corporate and military satellite launches. If it weren't for all that, who knows where we would be now in our space exploration?

    At this point, the only direct public benefit of the billions spent is "space" as an amusement park ride. The business that private enterprise will give the public is the ability to go into space for a couple of days and return to earth. Okay, it's more like a sea cruise then an amusement ride. In fact, it will probably closely resemble a cruise with massive quantities of food, gambling and some special space-related feature.

    It's almost impossible to list all the incredible advancements space travel has given us, indirectly. Those benefits were primarily a result of getting into space, not being in space. That doesn't mean there aren't going to be benefits from continued research, just that we can't conceive of the possibilities now anymore than we could have predicted the netbook I'm using right now.

    Spending trillions on the military, more than the next 26 countries combined (25 of whom are our allies!) is a waste of money better spent on making American citizens' lives better. Money spent on space exploration has great potential but requires long-term planning and specific goals. Going to other planets circling our sun will increase scientific knowledge by vast leaps but we already know they are inhospitable to humans, probably all earth life forms.

    Unless we have a major breakthrough - really huge - it's unlikely we will be able to travel to, let alone colonize, habitable planets around other suns before we suffer the worst effects of global climate change, let alone soon enough to mitigate them. Unfortunately, unless there is immediate profit in it, the private sector won't be interested in investing in the means to save our species so expect to see NASA defunded within a decade. Mankind may make it to other habitable planets; we may finally meet alien life forms but it won't be done by the USA.

  19. Dan Sitter
    August 17, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Take a child by the hand, look up into the night sky and say, "wow". Look that child in the eye and remember when pure joy was intermingled with delight and Curiosity, and then happily pay the tax man for starting another great human adventure!

  20. Brian
    August 17, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Pensions - $805.6 Billion
    Health Care - $866.1 Billion
    Defense - $925.2 Billion
    Welfare - $431.5 Billion

    NASA - $17.8 Billion

    Let's think about proportions here.. NASA's budget is .1% of the entire national budget. It doesn't really matter and isn't taking away from anyone.

    In fact the only people who ARE effected by NASA's budget are the thousands of AMERICAN's who benefit from a lot of that $18 billion dollars being pumped into the economy.

  21. Brayan Habid
    August 17, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Space exploration is a wonderful thing. We have learnt lots of things about our universe, and about ourselves. It's really exciting to know about mars, for example. I have read all the little details on Internet and seen all news about it.
    However, everything in this life should be guided by priorities. In this case, everything is wonderful, but what do we do with all that information, when around 35% of the world's population don't have any way to access it?
    To make things worse, there are so many basical needs that would be covered with all the money spent on the space. So, space exploration in times of crisis is like getting all your salary to buy a new high-end computer, but keeping your fridge empty because there is no money to buy food.

  22. Doc
    August 17, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Space exploration isn't just a "good thing," it's vital to our understanding of *everything*, and our continued growth and survival. Opening up new homes for our overcrowded people, adding new resources to fuel our ever-expanding global economy, finding new materials to create new technologies, and exploring low-gravity and zero-gravity processes...

    As the late Robert A. Heinlein said in his 1979 testimony in front of Congress, he was only alive on that day to testify because of medical advances made possible by medical technology used to monitor astronauts on their way to the Moon. There is *no* exploration or research that won't in some way, some day, benefit humanity; we owe it to ourselves to explore space just as much as we need to explore our own planet.

  23. John@EconEngineer
    August 17, 2012 at 3:30 am

    If things continue as they have for the past thousands of years, space travel will come in a flurry. Space travel, and all it's inclusions. Asteriod Mining. Planetary Mining. Planetary Settlement.

    From non-Earth settlements we may even have a bigger racial divergence in the human genome. Think about what a couple generations of people on a higher/lower gravity planet or space station will do to our bodies. Or, settlements with slightly different air/land mixes. Even with the potential for advanced terraforming planets may will still retain some unique "planetary personality" where the people will then adopt to a slightly different air/land (and thus plant/nutrition) system. If humans genes isolate completely different skin tones for levels of sun exposure, imagine what our genes will naturally do in such unique environments?

    That being said - to get back to the original crux of your question - I am excited for space exploration. I think we are nearing the time where it is feasible and marketable. NASA is (and was) a mistake and it's funding should be severely cut, then eliminated. Let private people and businesses determine when it's worthwhile to send people into space. It will be worthwhile at some point, and it is already starting. I love that I, being only 28, will probably have the opportunity to go into space by the time I die, or at least, to be able to be a low level "space tourist". I could do that now if I was rich! Add another 50 years of innovation and competition, and I should be able to afford it. I love it, and am looking forward to it.

    In fact, I think we need to hasten the day but cutting government run space programs. They waste money, NASA wastes bucket loads of money, private companies will either innovate our way into space, or it will simmer for another decade or two in low space tourism until space is cheaper and safer. At which point, I think there will be a surge of people leaving the planet.

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