Originally posted by apathist
I guess nasa will continue to send out robots, but space travel is private enterprise now.
NASA would do well to stop all of their own rocket development efforts and hire it out to private companies. Admittedly they are already doing so to some degree.
But they are spending 18 Billion dollars on their latest Space Launch System. (the official budget). Others have estimated 41 billion for four 70 t launches.
Given that a Falcon 9 currently launches for 60 million my guess would be a falcon heavy would be slightly less than three times that. (only one second stage, and reusable first stages are bringing down their costs, but SpaceX will want to pay off development costs).
 Actually Falcon Heavy is only 90 million a mere 50% more than Falcon 9
So NASA would have saved a lot of money just hiring SpaceX (and possibly other providers to keep the competition going).
NASA should focus on things that only they want and have expertise in, such as long distance spacecraft and rovers. I personally think the manned space program is a total waste of money and should be held off for 20-30 years while we explore robotically. When we are reliably sending robots to Mars every few years, we can talk about manned missions again. Right now, a significant percentage of robotic missions fail. If we cant do it for robots with at least 99% reliability we really shouldn't even consider sending humans.