Recent surveys of the moon by the LCROSS revealed a good probability that ice does exist at the poles of the moon. Finding critical resources in space can propel our exploration visions forward, but have we really found White Gold?
When we first began cononizing the north american continent we had no idea what treasures and wonders could be found by traveling west. It was only after a long laborious trip west that we discovered california and the bounty that it could provide. We have a lucious firtile land here that provides fruits and food to feed the nation year round.
In the same grain I believe we need to find our california in space, which will allow us to extend our tenuous tendrils into the vacuum and build sustained outposts. Since space exploration is so difficult and expensive, we need to find an area rich with resources that we can exploit to really begin expanding our investments.
There are two ways that I see we can find resources close to home. Survey the moon till we find the best composition of resources for our needs or survey asteroids and then move them into an orbit that is close enough for us to reach atleast as easily as the moon.