One of the most frequently depicted characters in children's TV programs is an astronaut. Probably tens of millions of children in the U.S., along with a large portion of adults, dream about visiting other worlds. However, at the rate that human spaceflight is advancing, nobody alive today will get to feel the wonder of walking on an alien planet. Very few will even go into space. Becoming an astronaut, just like meeting Santa Claus or winning the lottery, is a dream that has to be shattered at a young age. This is quite depressing. People in the 1970's would surely have expected us to have a base on Mars by now, but the first explorers of Mars have yet to be born. The generation of engineers who designed the Apollo program are now nearing retirement age, many of whom once looked to the future of spaceflight with optimism and were waiting to see humans travel faster and farther than anybody expected. I know that going into space is not a priority, that there's a lot of places for the government to use money, etc etc. I'm not saying that the government is poorly managing its budget, just that the present state of human spaceflight is sad to reflect upon.