Why not try this… we Earthlings have a little space station in orbit above our heads. Six folks work there every day. Why not strap an ion or fusion rocket on the thing and send it off to the moons of Saturn and Jupiter. Those giant gas bags are sort of in our own backyard, and they have "almost planets" in their gravitational embrace. Under their surface grit and ice are oceans that may contain life. Shall we go, you and I?
With the right rocketry, already invented and tested, the trip would take just a few months. We could stop along the way to take some snapshots on Mars, leave a post card to the future on an asteroid or two or a few, and then, perhaps meet our interplanetary kin.
Jeez… we have spent enough American money in just the time that it took for this amateur to research this topic for my so-called leaders to bomb the hell out of poor folks in places most of my fellows can't locate on a map. Let us pursue this more worthy enterprise.