Listen to Bill Nye's letter to the President of the United States asking for $1.5 billion to support planetary exploration. He gives three excellent reasons.
First, the potential discovery of alien life, which will change the course of human history. Second, the creation of new awesome technology, which will bring new businesses that can greatly benefit the economy, just like Apollo program did. And finally, the idea that planetary exploration will greatly inspire the country's youth, moving them into engineering. That's something that even some congressmen understand, so perhaps it's not crazy to make it happen. We need another Curiosity in the moon Europa.
And for the record, $1.5 billion is nothing, just a tiny 10 percent of NASA's current budget, which "in turn is less than 0.5 percent of the Federal Budget." Heck, they can get that by scrapping some stupid military program that's never going to get used or work (and the money will not get lost for that economy, as it will go back into the same aerospace industry.)
You can help Nye and The Planetary Society by signing and sending this letter to President Obama.