Not all people see it that way, however. I recall writing a letter in support of NASA funding to one of our state senators (Diane Feinstein, as I recall) back when I was in high school and getting back a rather huffy reply from her office saying that the senator did not believe we should be wasting money on space when we still hadn't solved all our problems here on earth.
Well, I hate to break to to those still nurturing a Rousseauian view of human nature, but all evidence suggests that we will never have "solved all our problems here on earth." We are the problem. As long as humans are around, we'll fight wars with each other and compete and deny each other food and perpetuate injustices and so on.
According to this article I ran into the other day, Senator Obama apparently thinking something along the lines of Senator Feinstein on this issue. He plans to remove most of the funding from the already rather poorly funded Moon/Mars program which Bush authorized, and plans to use the savings to fund a nationwide pre-K education program.
Why single out the space budget to cut for this program? “NASA is no longer associated with inspiration,” Obama told a campaign rally audience in March.I doubt there are many people out there making their decisions about the presidential election based on space policy, but for me at least, theis helps fill in a little bit the image of Obama that I already had: a "hope" that not really aimed at very much beyond looking good and funding more of the same. A hope without a goal. A hope without a future.