To understand our ultimate purpose we must first understand what we are.
Life arose out of organic compounds. That early life multiplied and changed and through many permutations evolved into the forms that we see today.
The 'finished product' is a complex expression of the fundamental needs. Eat and reproduce.
This is THE ultimate purpose.
We are a behavioural system so complex that we are able to recognize the workings of the system itself. That is self-awareness. Our self-awareness is the foundation for building new systems to explain that which is not self-evident to us.
But the complexity of our systems is outstripping the ability of the brain to calculate. Information is expanding exponentially and our ability to process it is only slowly expanding.
Computers will someday bridge that gap. The computing system will one day become so complex that it is able to recognize the workings of it's own system and that will be a new awakening to self-awareness.
In this way computers will eventually have as much in common with humanity as do the living creatures.
The other living creatures may also reach self-awareness. The tipping point as I see it is the day when one of them becomes so self-aware that he is able to ask himself 'Why?'.
"Why am I here? What is my purpose?"
But we already know that.
Being capable of exceeding the needs of our ultimate purpose does not change the fact that we are organisms designed for and defined by our ability to fulfill our core function.
At the same time it would also be a mistake to limit ourselves to these core functions. Indeed we have been so successful at fulfilling our mission that we are in danger of collapsing under the strain of our own might. It is clear that we must develop new systems in order to 'refine' our ultimate purpose and to ensure the greatest possible fulfillment of our core mission.
Here is where a fool might create an argument that runs contrary to the ultimate purpose. "We need to change our core mission to one that the planet can sustain indefinitely!" One might say.
But we are an organism designed from the beginning to consume and reproduce. Through many ages we've designed ourselves (through evolution) to reward those who are best at consuming and reproducing. Even if it were possible to suppress the instinctual needs of the entire human race to the point of final balance, wouldn't we then risk eliminating the fundamental drive that created us in the first place?
And who among us would stand for it?
If ever mankind were satisfied with only the elements of basic sustenance we'd never have found a need to leave Africa.
It's not what we are.
We strive to consume more and create more because that's our design. It is our nature, our purpose. To go against our nature is not only foolish, it's impossible.
So we rightly return to our original design, that of consumption and reproduction. Since our success is clearly straining the limits of the planet we must accept as a refinement of our ultimate purpose the discovery of new resources.
And this is why we must return to the moon.