I admit it. I’m a total sucker for things like this. If the Bush Administration commits to sending a manned mission to Mars, or even just putting a permanent base on the Moon, it would definitely be a point in their favor in my mind. I really think space exploration is one of the most important things the human race can do. If they are willing to go out on a limb and fund this it would be something I would support. Of course there are big problems on Earth that could also use the money that would otherwise go towards Mars development, but I think in the long-term — if we take a 1000 year view of things — spending money on colonizing Mars has greater potential benefit for greater numbers of people in the future than almost anything we can do on Earth — as long as we don’t destroy our species before we manage to colonize Mars. Spreading to another world dramatically increases the odds that humanity will survive in the universe. Staying only on Earth is far too risky in the long-term. Therefore, spending money on Mars is a long-term investment in the future evolution of humanity, and other lifeforms from Earth — by getting them off of this one ecological niche that is our planet. Furthermore it could have profound economic benefits — the fact is, Earth is getting pretty saturated. The world economy is powered by growth — and colonizing New Worlds is certainly one way to open up new economic vistas. After all, America was once a “New World” too.