The earth is going to be destroyed, one way or another. If we do not destroy it ourselves, or simply run out of room and resources, then some disaster with wipe out most, if not all life. Humans have never been content with the land and resources they were born with, and have explored and inhabited nearly every environment on earth. To the best of our knowledge, we are also alone as sentient beings in this universe.
Space colonization is required for the human race to live on after our home planet has perished, and to discover the true wonders and vastness of the universe. If we had walked the shores of the ocean, never daring to venture into the perilous waters, the world would be a much different place. Space exploration is dangerous, and expensive, but the rewards far outweigh the risks. We need to start thinking in terms of today. There are too many people and too little of everything else.
Eventually, the sun at the center of our little solar system will die. If this were to happen and humans had never settled anywhere but earth, then the human race would end. If a large meteor hits the the earth, such as has happened several times before, the human race would be virtually wiped out.
The climate is changing, and we don’t really know what’s going to happen. Many creatures before us have died out due to climate change. Humans are more resilient and adaptable than most earth creatures, and we will probably not go extinct due to climate change, but our numbers will fall and we will no longer flourish on Earth. Every planet has a time limit, our solar system may not have any planets capable of supporting life now, but the possibility of terraforming exists, and the possibility of already habitable worlds exists.
If mined, a single asteroid could be worth billions. The space program has also produced countless commercially marketable products, such as tang and velcro. Although technology developed for the space program would be intended for space application, many of them will have uses here on earth. If every nation with a space program coordinated and shared, costs would go down and much more would be possible.
The human race has grown too large and diverse, and our way of life has changed too much for the same basic world structure that has always existed to stand. A space program of unprecedented size is required, and would bring in untold benefits.
China already has population restrictions, how long until the rest of the world has to follow suit? The earth has a limited size, space and resources. Theoretically, the universe does not. Just as we have always done when resources no longer supported growth, we must leave earth to explore. Space however, is more dangerous and perilous than any other expedition, and thus requires more preparation and planning. A long term manned space probe/colony should be sent out, if only to observe for now.