Re: What's the Fucking Point?
To find out what happens.
If that's not enough of a reason to do something then perhaps you've been born into the wrong species. Curiosity and hungering after knowledge is kind of one of our defining characteristics and has helped us move from humble beginnings through to our present level of technological sophistication.
Some of these advances have come from research that had no immediate practical application, or at least were not aimed at producing any practical advances.
Take the research of Maxwell and, later, Hertz, who, amongst others, laid the ground-work that enabled Marconi to make his wireless telegraphy advances.
Hertz was not driven by practical concerns and had no immediate thoughts of how Maxwell's waves might be used toward any 'useful' ends, remarking that it was of no use at all - he had proven that Maxwell was correct and so the waves were just there.
For a more world-changing, though more delayed, example, see the development of quantum physics, which was simply about understanding the way things are, without any real concern for making those results do anything. Without that base, the transistor - arguably the most important invention of modern times - would be simply inconceivable.
And even then, we don't need to look for direct benefits from the research because plenty can come from those advances made in solving the more practical problems of the operation. To take a similar situation, look at Facebook. has it advanced the world? No, but in solving the practical and economic concerns of providing the product, they have helped advance 'hyper-scale' computing.
Likewise, we can look to the side benefits of the LHC and other accelerators, much of which has been in the direction of medical imaging, for obvious reasons. You might also be surprised to learn that Fermilab has been treating cancer patients with radioresistant tumors using neutron beams since 1976.
I mean, really, why go to the moon? What did we learn, really? BUT, to get there, all manner of technical problems needed to be solved and that yielded a great deal of cool and useful stuff. It also produced people with new and specialised knowledge who go out into the 'real' world.
I think dividing scientific enquiry into the practical and the theoretical, the useful and profitable from the vague and fruitless, is a disservice.
Much more has been spent on much less.