Another important reason to fund, and share, the adventure of human space flight is similar to what we offered Russian technologists in the Nineties: an opportunity for employment. A trained engineer or chemist without hope is ripe for work producing technology in the cause of terrorism.
National Public Radio unintentionally proved this point recently, in a story about a Syrian refugee welcomed by Sweden. The story reported that the Swedish government paired him with an old-time logger who worked with horses. The Syrian man had never seen a forest before, and here he was being taught useful employment in a new land. NPR presented this story in a positive light. But the reporter revealed that the refugee had been trained in his homeland as an electrical engineer. I’m an electrical engineer myself. Although I’m sure the Syrian appreciated living in a safe place, I can’t imagine the man thinking horse logging to be the best use of his double-E degree.