When I visited NASA, one of the impressions that hit me most strongly was an aura of neediness. NASA desperately wants what it does to seem sexy and important. Unfortunately, studying the effects of microgravity on insect development on board the ISS will just never meet that need. For many, that is precisely why manned space exploration is so vital to NASA. It challenges the imagination in a way that their current missions simply cannot. Even the potential for missions to the moon and Mars holds psychological value in this respect. However, its current mission may spell eventual doom for NASA by robbing it of any such cutting-edge mission. Here's a good write-up on the trouble facing the space agency.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.