Yosemite Sam wrote on Feb 15, 2013, 18:34: I've always said they are wasting money searching for extrasolar planets that we will more then likely never ever be able to actually visit when we should be mapping out our own system. This isnt about funding in general, but on what they are spending the funding they already have. Messed up priorities IMO, hey I think it's really cool too that they are finding planets around other stars, but it's trivia with zero benefits or applications in our world.
There are many benefits to astrophysics and we've learned a ton from it so it's not been money that's been wasted. Much as I'm opposed to space travel - which I consider a waste for a multitude of reasons - I wouldn't say that astrophysics or astronomy is a waste by any measure. Hell we wouldn't have satellites and the energy infrastructure we have today without it. The academic research is worth it. Observatories simply for near earth or middle earth objects? No.