The CNN article contains a comment about how science won't be up to the challenge in 50 years. But that misses the point. The science won't be up to it because countries spend ridiculously little on space research compared to how much they spend for social transfers, armies, and pork.
Here's a snippet from the estimated US federal spending for 2005:
- Total federal budget: $2,479 billion
- Military spending: $466 billion
- Income security transfers: $313 billion
- Social security transfers: $456 billion
- Farmers' subsidies (a complete waste of money): $31 billion
- General science and basic research: $7 billion
- NASA: $15 billion
Just take a look at the spending above.
Humanity is spending just about zero on research that would help us establish a colony on the Moon, let alone other planets. That NASA budget of $15 billion? $3 billion of that is pork - wasted on pet projects of various congressmen.
It took September 11 for people to start taking radical Islam seriously. I guess it's going to take a catastrophe that wipes out half the human population before people get to the wise thought that, hmm, perhaps indeed we should start working on a backup plan in space.