I myself am very excited by the recent accomplishments of SpaceX and other private firms and wish we had headed this way long ago. I think this re-opens the whole competition aspect that we had with the Russians decades ago and engages a whole new space race that can only serve to benefit mankind. The space shuttle never really turned out to be what we all imagined it would be in the 70's and although I was excited as the next guy over the prospect of 'space planes'... in the end I was glad to see it retired. Whatever anyone else says I feel we are finally on the right track and glad to see that several of these private firms are setting their sights on Mars. I don't think it would have happened any other way.