I also agree with his point that life will go on if we don't go back to the moon in my lifetime. The environment isn't going to be destroyed because lunar platinum isn't being mined to enable the Hydrogen Economy. Human civilization isn't going to stagnate much worse than it will anyway. We aren't likely to be wiped out by a huge meteorite impact. I'm not too worried about those "Chinese Communists" taking over the free world by first wasting vast amounts of money building bases on the moon to prevent plucky space startups from accessing it. In fact, life would even go on if NASA closed its doors tomorrow, or if it completely canceled its manned spaceflight program. I don't think that Western Europe is going to convert to Islam and join the Evil Caliphate o' Doom (TM) if we don't continue to show "technological leadership" by flying people very expensively into space on government run boosters.
There's probably nothing in the public or private space program that is essential to human survival over the next century. Life would go on without it.
I find it incredible that Mr Goff doesn't believe space travel is a necessity to the survival of the human race. Alone the threat of global war, terrorism, and natural reoccurring global disasters in earth history would lead one to conclude otherwise. But there is another enduring reason why humanity should strive for the stars: it’s our only escape left.
The Romans had Europe, the Europeans had America, and America had the west. Now just where is the last frontier? Where is the haven for those feed up with the stifling rules of the old world or those just plain simply oppressed looking for a second chance?
Our world is quickly moving into a new phase of history where the reality of limits has become all the more apparent. As governments impose more and more rules and people find less and less real estate to escape them I think it’s fueling a drive for alternative escapes – artificial ones. Just look at what the people of today escape to – facebook, chat rooms, supermarket tabloids, television, reality tv – the list goes on and on. There are no more lofty goals. There are no more great dreamers.
The slow increase of rules by governments and the lack of a belief in a future worth living I think can be far worse threat to our survival than anything else.