After seeing the astonishing documentary In The Shadow of the Moon recently about the NASA Apollo missions to the moon, I became curious about how much it cost the US government to achieve. One estimate is between $20 and $25.4 Billion in 1969 Dollars (or approximately $135 Billion in 2005 Dollars).
In comparison, news reports in 2006 put the cost of the US war in Iraq at $2 Billion A WEEK. The current cost is estimated at over $500 Billion.
So advancing science and technology and achieving something wonderous is comparatively cheap, and stimulates new industries, like miniature computers and lightweight materials. Slaughtering people who have nothing to do with 9/11 is expensive and has no added benefits.
Some US citizens are now actively against space exploration on the grounds of cost. I think the US government has very strange priorities. Below is the trailor for In the Shadow of the Moon.