Tribble wrote: ↑
Apart from communications and military purposes, what actual value is there to going into space, apart from showing off that you can?
The entire modern industry of weather forecasting and much real-time reporting is built upon satellites.
That industry has greatly increased safety for transportation and for people in storm affected areas. It's why death tolls from even major disaster storms has dropped significantly over the past 50 years - we can see things coming far in advance to evacuation large populations. It extends all the way down to such mundane concerns as the store I work for being able to schedule increased deliveries of groceries in the 48 hours before a storm to accommodate all the panic buying, and not have our delivery guys on the road during the storm.
We use this technology so much, so often, we've become oblivious to the face it's high technology, space, and very recent in history.
Also GPS has revolutionized navigation on both a large and small scale which, along with communication, has changed both travel and shipping from large to small scales.
Should we really be spending on things like the James Webb telescope or sending probes to Pluto when there are billions living in poverty, right now?
Yes - because we also need to pursue knowledge, and frankly quite a few people find such projects inspiring. It's not enough to merely exist, you need something to live for
. The poverty problems in the world have more to do with distribution of resources than lack of resources (at least up until now). Space projects cost money, but there's plenty of other money out there to take one poverty, what's missing is a lack of will to do so
Should we be talking about colonization when we can't even run the planet we're already on without screwing it up?
Yes, because solving the problems of living in a hostile environment can help us clean up our mistakes back home.
Space exploration could be seen as little more than a massive vanity science project.
Manned space travel could be described as this - except for the "managing biological environments long term" part, but finding ways to make drinking water from urine isn't sexy enough for ads. UNmanned space travel in the form of satellites has actually been useful.