Also the technology advancement we will get by having a permanent moon base is more than enough to justify all the expenses: advancement in life support, AI, engierneering, chemistry, biology ect is beyond imagination.
Personally? I think we should have been insisting with Apollo, rather than cutting it away and replacing it with the space shuttle (now that was a waste) Mars is a secondary objective. The moon is near and much easier to go.
Edited by ~C.S.M~, 09 July 2012 - 03:25 PM.