Sure glad Columbus, Magellan, DeSoto and numerous others didn't have Beemaster's attitude toward exploration, or an Obama government to tell them "it's too risky, you might get hurt!"
You totally don't understand and I don't think a one line reply justifies everything I wrote in this post about this subject and likely a hundred others over the years. We have spent Billions on exploration and pretty much know (because of all that exploring) what is out there and where, our "exploring" has helped create wonderful things and opened up much of the Universe to us But you cannot compare that to circumnavigating the Earth or mapping it for the first time.
All the exploration of our planet is rewarding to our species, we have so much left to learn about the Earth and underwater, we could spend another thousand lifetimes to study what is here, not travel endlessly toward distant objects that may take ten thousand years to get to. Especially since we likely know what that distant object is all composed of through all our research and exploring already.
If the Earth were a super planet, imagine in the 15th century traveling 500 to 1000 years to cross an ocean using that time's technology, it is the same thing as going exploring in space today, except we know how far things in space are away from us - leaving Earth to get there is futile at 17,000mph. If given the knowledge back in the 1400s that it will take 1000 years to cross a great ocean before reaching land, do you think the explorers would do it with their current technology? I sure think they would not. I can't imagine in the day any ship being built, with the plans to be fruitful and multiply for 50 generations just to get to the new world. So the choice is to a) not bother going since you know you cannot (at this time) complete the long voyage b) wait for a time when such a task is possible. Whether across a vast ocean on a huge planet or to travel deep into space, time is the real killer and most important about space travel, I honestly believe if we send a ship/probe deep space for X number of years, long before it reaches its destination, we will have built a ship that could beat it there.
See if we didn't have things already well mapped out in space, if we had no idea how far things were away, then exploring seems adventurous. But to know it takes an Ark to get there and 20 generations of people must be born and die aboard before we reach our target, not knowing if there is an viable use for the massive undergoing, then why go in the first place?
We should continue to build greater telescopes and incredible software to track everything in space, learn more and more how it works, if indeed we haven't gotten most of the possibilities down already. So what difference does it make if the Universe is 17 or 700 billion years old - frankly, since we can only age it by the distance we can see, there is a huge flaw in our dating process.
We need to develop technology that can get us there faster, not just get us there - that is the difference. If you told me tomorrow that we have launched a deep space probe that will reach its target area in 30 thousand years, I'd ask for my tax money back. We humans only live but a blink in time, the Universe is literally timeless in comparison. I think it is a shame that everything is so vastly distand, but it is.
NASA is going back and rethinking sending equipment to the moon to build the rocket to Mars again - an idea they all but scrapped about a year ago. But because of the massive radiation humans would be subjected to they need protection and the cheapest material to isolate them from radiation is packing a double hulled vessel with moon dust and use the Moon's 1/6th less gravity to launch into space easier.
I see going to Mars and other planets, although the others are really stretching it for man, we cannot survive or even land on most planets. MArs is a great thing if you must explore. But the probes that still function today and the mapping in great detail of the surface has super computers able to do simulator fly overs yielding great data without leaving home.
After Mars, that's about it for exploration, except probes. I'm not against exploration, but going somewhere knowing nothing is there is a silly waste of money. We have 7 miles to the deepest parts of the ocean and have been as far (with people aboard) just over 2.6 miles down. That is a goal of exploration that is obtainable and we know there is likely all new species of life there to find - maybe some crustacean that yields a cure for cancer. I'm just saying, go where we can use the money best until we have the technology to go furter, I don't think THAT is being closed minded on Exploration.