Tsiolkovsky wrote those immortal words nearly a century ago and IMO they still ring true today. I said this in another thread here, but man is and, for most of time, has always been an exploratory creature; wherever there is something unknown out there, man eventually goes out and explores what's out there......same thing with space exploration. For years, man's always wondered, What's out there? Can man survive in outer space? Are we alone? and so forth. I agree, we should be doing more in terms of money and research on exploring space, but we should be doing so as part of a broad, international effort. Its' a shame that when President Bush proposed the Vision for Space Exploration he didn't consider making it as broad an international effort as possible, especially as man continues to deal with environmental and other problems here on Earth.Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.
I think space exploration and space programs in general should be higher on the list than they are but not at the very top. We need to take care of the people ON THE EARTH first but we need to be prepared for a global exodus just in case.