An editorial in today's NYT. In part:
We don’t get anywhere by staying home from Mars. By pushing our little mine carts around the earth and making speedier mine carts, by connecting long pipes to communicate with one another and then creating better pipes to shout down, louder ways to shout. All of our squabbles with other humans and all of our possessions here on earth, the things we make faster, easier, smaller, really mean very little. How could they, when the universe is so big? Significance is in science — not the science that leads to better mine carts and more efficient shouting, but the science that leads to more ideas.