Sending explorers to another planet may not generate as much hype as the latest professional sporting championship or the antics of a celebrity family, but it will always capture our imagination and attention. We might not clamor for someone to get there as soon as possible, but we'll be in awe when it happens and celebrate everyone involved as heroes.
I think if you asked most Americans now they would say they are interested in sending people to another planet. Of course we have to balance that with our current economic situation and decide if that's how we want to spend our money. As time goes on, we may need that interest again to find clean water.
It is the simple curiosity of the unknown that will always spark the interest in sending people to other planets. No matter what challenges they may face, the American public strives for answers to the unknown. Nothing is ever learned unless chances are taken and the answers we seek are answered. Isn't this curiosity what put us on the moon in the first place?
America was created as the country it is under the basis of exploration. Learning more about the universe that we live in is the next step in exploration, and as such sending a manned mission to another planet is something that is a viable potential venture. There is a possibility of colonization in the future, as there was when America was first discovered.