"In November, India took the next step in their space program by launching their Mangalyaan Mars orbiter. The orbiter won't arrive for a while yet, but they've managed to get some public attention for a different reason: the fact that the entire mission costs only 75 million dollars, substantially less than the budget for the hit movie 'Gravity.'
While the question of wages is bound to come up (it was only 15% of the budget of the project), I think we can all agree that bringing down the cost of interplanetary space travel to a level attainable by the ultra-rich is a good step forward."
One possible type of space mission with financial return in the foreseeable future is asteroid mining, hence the significant private investment there. Who wouldn't want a billion tons of Platinum?