A European lander .. seems NASA doesn't want to loose another one
Um...have you checked out NASA track record at Mars? Mars is indeed notorious for losing craft, but the American success rate on the red planet is much better than that of the Russians. Given all the missions that the US does send out, not all which make the headlines, we're doing just fine. Cassini/Huygens was a two-star show. ESA's Huygens was the ship of the hour when it landed on Titan and confirmed that Titan largely looks like we suspected, with signs of cryovolcanism. Since then, Cassini has proven lakes of liquid ethane or methane exist down there.
The Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity are well into their fifth year of operation, well past the original 90 days or so planned for their primary missions. American landers are doing just fine, thank you.
When my country is facing a new massive national Debt of over 14 trillion dollars likely before the government is done, we can't afford to waste money on projects like this. Balance our budget and lower the national debt to maybe 1 trillion dollars what we need for inventment mechanisms in our economy we can talk about this.
Want this done let private companies do it if there is money to be made, I suspect they could do the same job cheaper if allowed to do so.
People that are trying hard to quantify the space program usually don't understand what they're talking about. Much of the conveniences and safeguards we have today in our everyday lives and take for granted are offshoots of space tech. The more we understand other worlds nearby the more we understand the home planet, and given the way we've been abusing Mother Earth we need a little understanding.
By the way NASA creates or maintains jobs right here
. The space shuttle was not built in China. Indian tech support does not troubleshoot our fleet of spacecraft and probes; places like mission control in Houston and JPL in California do.
Technically there's a lot of things we don't 'need' in times of trouble. We really don't need to be coughing up the gas money to get to church and then the cash for the collection plate...but I don't suppose you'll be convincing too many people.
I prefer to invest in reality. Churches and temples will tell you invest and they might be able to save our soul...space research just might help us save our planet. As long as we're all still on the mortal coil we best get our priorities straight.