Curiosity seems to have created a bit of a curious thing here on Earth: the hint of privately funding space exploration. Here is a TechCrunch story that describes a grass roots movement (at least, an “in principle” grass roots movement) that would fund future NASA projects through Kickstarter projects.
Ah, yes, that is: the private sector doing what the public sector does but doing it better. Or, don’t tax people to fund projects that nobody cares about, but rather, let people choose for themselves what to do with their money. Or, private “charity” works. Or, open up government services to competition (but note that this has to be done in conjunction with tax cuts and corresponding budget cuts else there will always be a crowding out effect).
An interesting thing to note: apparently (see the link above) the Olympics cost 5x more to produce than it cost to get Curiosity to Mars. Or: markets do a good job at getting resources to where people want them.