Sort out all of Earths problems? What the heck? Give the UK a frontier!
The UK seriously needs to end the ban on British astronauts. Helen Sharman was bankrolled by the Soviets, Michael Foale had to seek US citizenship status before he could fly on the the NASA STS system. This is a shameful state of affairs. We need a UK launcher system and a regulatory framework that will actively promote manned space flight.
To those that say that spending money on spaceflight is a waste of time let me remind you that it was the overview image of a blue and white Earth delivered by the Apollo 8 mission that largely created the mass psychology behind the modern environmental movement. Without spaceflight, we would not even have an awareness of man made environmental damage or impact.
Space activity consumes less than 1% of the US federal budget. In the UK we spend even less. Diverting such miniscule amounts to environmental causes and poverty alleviation will not solve the worlds problems. You can't create Utopia by imposing a travel ban people - and that's all the space travel is - just another form of human movement. Do you solve all the problems in your home town before enjoying a holiday in Europe or Asia? No? Then why ask the same of other forms of travel? The argument is completely absurd.
The UK must follow other Nations into space. We need to give our young people hope and opportunity instead of the endless reminders of the shames of Empire. There is enough platinum grade material in the asteroid belt to provide the UK with 10,000 years of cheap metal. A new industrial revolution is underway and yet again UK plc will miss out on the opportunity of the millenium due to a flat earth mentality.
Lets get rid of the tiny British National Space Centre and create a UK Space agency that is properly funded!