As a broke college student, thouands of dollars in debt, I have a tough time grasping the magnitude of a million dollars, much less a billion. What I do know is it's an exorbinant amount.
So to me, NASA spending billions upon billions on space travel isn't worth it. I don't see the benefit that NASA provides. The human race can do without Velcro and Teflon.
There are many more pertinent issues in society that we could spend our money on. For example, what about the strife in Sudan, or Niger, or Iraq, or North Korea?
When JFK promised a man on the moon it seemed noble but was more cocksure behavior towards the Soviet Union than anything else.
Nonetheless, NASA has again ventured into space with the shuttle Discovery. During blastoff Discovery lost pieces of foam insulation. The same foam insulation that doomed the shuttle Columbia resulting in seven deaths. In the two and half years since Columbia NASA spent a billion dollars to correct this problem. Although the astronauts aren't thought to be in any danger, NASA failed.
I know there are dreams about discovering the last frontier, but a billion dollars towards a foam insulation problem is a waste.