Admittedly, one reason why I would love to see man land on Mars is because I am a complete sic-fi nerd. However, the voyage could prove very useful for the human race as a whole. For example, world population issues are completely out of control and nobody truly knows how to handle the problem (sorry, China). While this may be a bit of a stretch, a landing and eventual colonization of Mars would be a tiny first step into helping solve the Earth's population problems. Also, a voyage to Mars could reveal huge numbers of resources that can be processed/mined and brought back to Earth. While these arguments seem far fetched, they are absolutely possible in fifty or so years, but we need to send a man to Mars first before they can happen.
We have the resources. We have a motivated, highly sophisticated organization wishing to perpetuate our understanding of life and the mystery of the universe, and something as frivolous as money is going to prevent the next milestone of humanity? Unfortunately, I know I fight for the losing side. Until the monetary system collapses or is reformed, science will see that most ambitious adventures never receive enough funding to take place, delaying the thresholds of human achievement.
People are so ignorant when considering the cost of NASA projects. The 20 billion dollar price tag includes the labor, time, materials, and research that is required to go to the red planet. Much of this technology is cutting edge, and the innovations are passed on to consumer grade products. Seriously, look at all the technology we developed in the race to go to the moon.
The US is in debt... $17 trillion! And on top of that, waste more money on space exploration to Mars? It take 500+ days to get there, and another 500+ days to get back! This is soooooo risky! Why send a manned mission to Mars when Earth is still safe, cozy, and protected. NASA says that they need $20 billion to fund this trip... NO WAY! THIS IS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS DOWN THE DRAIN! WHY WASTE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR SOME SILLY, LAME, PROJECT/MISSION!
We have already been to Mars and back to the Moon. NASA edits everything they give to the public. You don't really think the FED lost 9 TRILLION dollars and the Pentagon lost 2.3 TRILLION do you? That money is going somewhere and it is going into a secret space program. Listen, when you have astronauts from all over the world coming out and saying they have seen things in space --- you know you are not being told the full truth.