A lot of people say that the value of space exploration is in the advance of technics (which basically means an increase in people's comfort level) or in an increase of knowledge. But while those things are indeed valuable, there is a reason to explore space that stands far above comfort or knowledge.
For three billion years, Earth has been the home of life. And during all that time life has been struggling against itself and against the environment to survive. In a competitive situation, survival requires constant improvement. One of the improvements was intelligence.
With intelligence came culture, art, wisdom, and the appreciation of beauty in things both natural and contrived. Although the same process might have occurred, or might someday occur, on some other planet, we don't know that this is the case. And whether extraterrestrial life exists or not, it would be to our shame to allow the Life of Earth to become extinct, to act in such a way as to shorten greatly its run through this universe.
As the species that evolved the intelligence and the inclination to develop technics and to exploit fossil fuels, it became our responsibility to ensure that the Life of Earth did not succumb to our own foolishness or to any other failure mode. From the moment we began our civilizations, our highest purpose should have been to carry out the mission of bringing Earth's life to other planets, to give it new homes to live in, to fill the universe as much as possible with culture, art, wisdom, and the ability to appreciate beauty.
Why is this our responsibility, and not merely our opportunity? Because with us, Earth has for the first time ever a species with the ability to understand the eons-long struggle that led to its own creation, and, with that understanding, to look above the struggle to see the glories that might someday accrue to the Life of Earth, but only if WE do OUR job properly. If we become extinct, nothing like us might ever appear on our world again.
And, even if another intelligent species did someday take our place, we shall soon have used up the material prerequisites for spaceflight, such as metal ores and fossil fuels, that nature spent all the past history of Earth gathering for the first species able to make use of them. In other words, nature passed the ball to humanity. Whether we run for the touchdown and score, or foolishly ignore the rules of the game and so engage in activities that cost us our chance to win, is our choice. It's a decision that might require a god's wisdom to make rightly; yet, it is ours.
Beside this, no other purpose has much value, relatively speaking. Rather than lose this, let us lose nine-tenths of Mankind. Fifty million people dead in a war, or a hundred years of starvation on a continent, are as nothing in comparison to the tragedy of losing 99.9% of the potential future of the Life of Earth. This purpose should have determined all of our ideologies and all of our moral systems at least from the industrial revolution forward.
Why it did not is a very interesting, and very politically dangerous, question that would lead us to consider what capitalism, communism, politics, and international banking might have had in common, and we might conclude that Earth has had the misfortune to evolve a kind of rapacious, parasitical intelligent life that acts on other intelligent life in much the same way that a virus or a cancer acts on their victims.
If we don't establish an independent space colony in a place where technics can continue after terrestrial fossil fuels have all been burned, then all of Earth's life will perish within two billion years. If we do, however, we might eventually do what science fiction makes seem all too easy: fly ships to the planets of other stars, thereby enabling the Life of Earth to continue until the stars themselves die. As Thomas Jefferson said, "What signify a few lives lost in a century or two?" when the purpose for which those lives are spent has such great importance for the life that remains.
Part 2. The "Violation" that Yahoo Answers suspended my account for.
"We ain't decided yet if we're going to eat in this crummy joint. It's all right to get liquored up in, but--" (From The Goblin Reservation, by Clifford D. Simak.)
Does anyone know what the scenario will look like if the $700 billion bailout doesn't go through? In order to decide if something should be done one must look at both sides of the story. What will happen if the bail out doesn't go through, what institutions will bite the dust? Should they bite the dust? They made the bad loans, they helped create the problems. Mortgage loans can be renegotiated so that someone ends up with the house or with the mortgage so that is not a total loss. We are talking here of real houses with wood, nails and roofs, so there is something there worthwhile. If the bail out goes through who gets the cash? CEO's with lavish expense accounts and multimillion dollar wages with bonus packs for running a company into the ground. I don't think so. If the deal is so good why don't private individuals like some of the big millionaires buy up the loans or create a company to absorb the losses afterall they got rich on this same market.
You're using your head, there. Most people have forgotten how to think on large economic matters because the bankers' propaganda has discouraged such thinking for so long.
But I think that the necessity of making the choice of whether to bail out the banks IS "the scenario." It was created in the first place by the kind of money system our government permitted the bankers to impose on the country. It's basically a Ponzi scam, in which the bankers loan money into existence at interest. That means the bankers get an income, a really huge income, without doing any work to recompense the country.
Every dollar in circulation is the principal on a bank loan. If all the money in existence were paid back to the bank to settle up on those loans, the bankers would claim that even more money is due, because of the accumulated interest. And our government, with its courts and its police, would agree with the bankers. Inevitably, there would be many people who would owe to a bank more money than they have to pay with, and the bankers feed on such people, like a spider, using the laws as their web to ensnare their victims.
It's a nice little racket. The bankers slosh the economy a bit by creating boom and bust cycles. During the boom times, they use low interest rates to bait people into taking out loans. The people use the loaned money to pay each other for goods and to build things of value, like the houses you mentioned, as well as other desirable items. When the aggregate private (and corporate) debt is as great as the bankers think it's ever going to be, they quickly contract the money supply and catch people short of funds. Then the spiders emerge, with their lawyers, and take everybody into court to strip them, quite legally, of what they had made with their labors while money was in plentiful supply.
It was high treason for our government to collaborate with the bankers to impose this kind of money system on us. And WHO are the bankers, to whom the government has sold us all into slavery? Why they are the Rothschilds, the Warburgs, the Lazard Brothers, the Schiffs, the banking families of Kuhn, Loeb, etc. Most of them are Jews. And this bailout is EXTRA money, yet more money, a claim upon our productive labor above and beyond what the bankers plan to cheat from us during the next bust.
Interesting, isn't it? This sort of watchful censorship is almost everywhere on the Internet. In the Peak Oil News and Message Boards, for example, I took note of the fact that the U.S. Government kills foreigners in order to get the resources it needs to satisfy the demands of the bankers to whom it is endebted. That is, our government kills people (and loots their national corpse) so that it can remain financially solvent. Evidently, that particular truth was approved for mentioning. But a bit later I went a bit farther. I asked whether it might be more efficient, assuming that our government were going to be killing people anyway, to target the bankers instead of those innocent foreign folks across the sea. WHAM! Within a few minutes, I was censored and warned never to say such things again.
"If the American people ever allow banks control of the issuance of their currency, the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them will, first by inflation and then by deflation, deprive the people of their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered." –Thomas Jefferson