People are making a lot of comparisons between the cost of the Mars Curiosity Rover—incidentally, the cost was all spent in our economy not sent to Mars in a bag—and other events and projects. Among them, the cost of the olympics, as shown above.
Would you rather spend more money on the science that could reveal us the origin of life and help us understand our place in the universe—questions that humans have asked themselves since the dawn of time—or spend that money it organizing games to watch people chase balls or run or jump faster than the next?
What affects us more? What pushes humanity forward? Is it the development of science and technology—apart from revealing the secret of the universe, all the space program technologies have direct applications in your day to day life, from velcro to medical scanning to carbon fiber? Or is it watching sponsored athletes compete for a gold medal? The former seems to have wide implications for all of humanity through decades and centuries. The latter doesn't affect humanity that much, except for the excitement of 9.7 seconds of a 100-meter race.
Science and technology or bread and circus?
Where do you want to see your dollars go?
Pie chart by Luminous Enchiladas