People are making comparisons between the cost of the Curiosity rover and other things. Among them, the cost of the Olympics.
Would you rather spend more money on the science that could reveal the origin of life and help us understand our place in the universe -- questions that humans have asked themselves since the dawn of time? Or would you spend that money organising games to watch people chase balls, or try to run or jump faster than each other?
What affects us more? What pushes humanity forward? Is it the development of science and technology? Apart from revealing the secret of the universe, all the space program technologies have direct applications in your day-to-day life, from Velcro to medical scanning to carbon fibre. Or is it watching sponsored athletes compete for a gold medal? The former seems to have wide implications for all of humanity through decades and centuries. The latter doesn't affect humanity that much, except for the excitement of 9.7 seconds of a 100m race.
Science and technology, or bread and circus? Where do you want to see your dollars go?
Chart: Luminous Enchiladas