"Of course, there are many people who ask: Why spend anything at all, with all the problems we have on Earth?" Musk says. "But not only are there significant things we can learn about the universe and our place in it when we go to space, there are things we learn about the Earth." He points to climate change, ozone depletion, pollution. "And if you really want to go big picture here," adds Musk, who himself clearly loves to go big picture, "I think it is actually very important that we start making progress in extending life beyond earth and we start making our existence a multi-planetary one."And also:
"Life cannot be just about solving problems," he said. "I mean, if all we do in life is solve another bloody problem, that's depressing. You need things that inspire people."(Via Instapundit.)
UPDATE 12/21: "New Course for Space Exploration Promotes Private Firms."