"NASA's first human spaceflight program was Project Mercury. This ambitious undertaking was launched in 1958—about a year after the U.S.S.R. had signified the start of the Space Age with the successful launch of the satellite Sputnik 1...The Mercury missions began the space race in earnest and drew upon the vast resources of the U.S. government and private sector—an estimated two million Americans contributed."
Does the United States need to re-engage with manned spaceflight? Re-engage with a developing Space Race this time not with the Russians, but with the Chinese and private corporations and interests?
I know a precious little about it, but from what I gather, people are expensive to pay to go up there, and if the mission goes wrong, their families are more expensive to pay. At the same time, while I have a lot of faith in technology and know we an do amazing things, why not let a human do what a machine can't.
We must continue to explore, and if we fail, we as a species will be moving backward. I am dissappointed as the United States no longer has a primary launch vehicle with the retirement of the shuttle. Lets give ourselves a goal to look forward to instead of being content to wallow in the mud. The first new frontier that we actually move away from, that is not the spirit I grew up with. After we deal with the outrageous defense outlays, then tell me we don't have the resources to pursue ambitions of space travel.
Trekkies will always say there is a new frontier to explore, how about we explore the earth first? How about when we know enough trying to heal the harm we have already done to it or should we like a virus spread through the universe destroying everything we come across.