I do agree with him that the space program (really the aircraft and missile industry) research has contributed much to our modern technology, but I also feel if you want do accomplish a goal, you work on that goal, not other ones that might happen to lead to your actual one. In other words, if we are looking for more technological developments in medicine, communication, computers, etc., work on them, don’t diddle with space research then claim it was necessary to do that for us to develop the other advances.
I’d much rather we focus on developing better, more efficient energy sources, more medical improvements, and new areas of basic physics. At present, it’s just way too expensive to travel to Mars. I wouldn’t be surprised if, in another ten or twenty years, we come up with new discoveries in physics that allow us to travel there much more efficiently.