Exciting the Public
Mr. Steven Weinberg is probably absolutely correct about the nearly total lack of scientific value obtained from manned space missions, but they are more or less the only thing about space that excites the general public, until they become routine, after which even that value disappears.
Most of the exciting physics is much too esoteric for the common person to comprehend and really bother about. I am originally Swedish, and previously when visiting my home area people used to show hardly any interest at all in what I do, but now after the first space flight by a Swede, they were suddenly excited, and asked me whether I had anything to do with it, which I didn’t.
Manned space flight is politically indispensable, even if it may be scientifically worthless.