The headline in the Washington Post today reads "Mars rover on course for risky landing on Monday." Well, risky for the steel and aluminum and whatever else the rover is made of. Not risky for people; there are none aboard.
The United States doesn't have a manned space program just now. We used to, you remember, if you're old enough, Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon and those who followed them. We were all sure then that it wouldn't end with the moon, that men would walk on Mars. Maybe some day. Probably not while I'm still here to see it. Self-pity? Oh, I think so. don't you?
Countries have to choose, of course. Education, health, defense, and so on. Space needn't, probably shouldn't, be first.
I'll bet I still have a copy of the late Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles around somewhere. I think I'll look for it. Science fiction, of course, but good, exciting stuff.