(This is a re-write of a much earlier post of mine on Medium.)
I’m going to write something shocking here that I need to prepare you for first. Bear in mind that this comes from a total sci-fi geek – I have, at various times in my life, owned not only a toy phaser, but a tricorder and communicator to boot. I have seen every episode of Star Trek ever made (really) and love Battlestar Galactica. I can have an informed discussion about the relative merits of visions of the future embodied by the Foundation series, the Culture, or the Hegemony of Man. I love this stuff.
Yet any way I approach it, one conclusion seems inevitable: manned spaceflight is mostly a waste of resources, and we should put a stop to it. Hear me out.