I hope Obama stops the space Programm and puts all it's fund to a "Let's solve the Energy Crisis in the following decade" programm.
At the moment: 25% of the Wolrd Population has acces to energy:
- Oil, Gas, Coal reserves will be over at 2050.
- Uranium reserves will be over between 2100-2150.
IF China's population gains acces to energy (electricity, heating...), the world population with acces to energy would go over the 50%. The thing is that with the actual economic growth of China, they will get acces in the short term (2020? who knows), but that would mean:
- Oil, Gas, Coal would be over before 2050.
- Uranium would be over before 2100.
At the moment we don't have any other MAIN energy sources. We have solar energy, which is a really low efficient energy source. We have wind, which has a medium enviormental cost and is not reliable enough to be a main energy source. And we have hydraulic powerplants, which are highly efficien 94% and highly reliable. But without normal temperature superconductors they can only supply certain regions of the world and their enviormental cost is tremendously big.
So we have x possibilities at the moment, some of them are:
1) Solving the energy crisis before we run out of energy (that means put all the money we have into solving it)
2) Enforce the use of the actual regenerable energies and improve the energetical efficiency of buildings to maximize energy savings (today this will only be a patch to decrease our energy expenses but it won't solve the energy problem in the long term)
3) Go to Mars, ignore the problem till it's too late, and then start praying and die, because No Energy => No Industry, No Research, No Progress => No solution for the energy problem.
So yes, space trips are cool and stuff, but can we do them after we have solve the stuff that matters ;) ? I mean, with the energy problem solved, we would have time till sxxx, global warming kill us all.