Originally Posted by Futureguy
A friendly competition between countries can only create better means for space travel.
True, but international missions can achieve much more than that, they can envision a peaceful and cooperative (the biggest problems of our century, financial disorder, global warming and overpopulation can only be solved cooperatively) future.
Space exploration is useful in three ways. First, we discover something directly, e.g. that we might drift a bit towards Venus when we continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere. Second, we discover something indirectly in research, e.g. Teflon or a more prominent example, the Internet as a result of military research (this is the biggest argument for public and non-target reasearch, the greatest discoveries have always been made by accident). Third, and this refers to the point I made in the beginning, space is also a space for our dreams, visions and ideas.
But instead of this we can devote public resources to bailing out banks and blowing up military budgets ad infinitum.