I am personally a huge fan of space exploration, I think exploration is one of the noblest and most honorable undertakings any person can do. It truly pushes the boundaries of so many things, human knowledge, technology, and so often in history is done by people who literally give everything just to see whats over the next horizon. Of course I realize thats a quite a fantastical way to look at exploration in history, but we all have to have our heroes no?
Thats what I loved about the space race, it was a race in that the goal was to get their fast and first. Nothing spurs development like competition, which is why we went from our first manned space flight in 1961 to a moon landing in 1969. And I tell you if the USSR had landed on the moon as well, we'd have been on Mars in 10-20 years just to win the race.