This article in the Tellytubbygraph annoyed me with its patronising assertion that satellites or robotic probes could do everything mankind needed outside of this thin little biosphere we call home, and that manned spaceflight is simply showmanship and hubris.
I felt moved to leave the following;
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky once said; 'The Earth is the cradle of mankind, but mankind cannot live in the cradle forever'.Although I may have warped the original Tsiolkovsky quote slightly. Nonetheless, the truth of it remains.
This was the promise of those early orbital flights. It is also said that "The future is a journey". This rather begs the corollary that "If you don't try, you won't ever go anywhere." Satellites alone won't do that.
At least China and India are trying.
This is what occasionally gets under my skin when talking to people who think we should 'take care of problems here on earth first'. To me, the people who trot out such sayings are short sighted, narrow minded, and don't understand much about the nature of humanity at all. They're not very historically astute, either.
Voices from the anti manned space flight faction would have you think that mankind will, or can actually deal with things like world poverty, famine, and the other excuses they trot out. They don't seem to get that the main drivers of poverty and famine are the self same people they claim will provide the 'answers'. This is the lesson of History, and gets repeated rather too often for my liking.
I've said it before, and I'll keep on saying it as long as I have breath; we are an expansionist species. It comes from our hunter / gatherer heritage. Humans need space to expand into and exploit, because if they didn't, well they wouldn't be human for a start. Manned space flight isn't a luxury item, it's an essential. Because if we don't at least try to get off this rolling ball of rock and take a look around, then we as a species are just marking time to extinction.