A week or so back, Frank was forced to admit that he couldn't support a trip to Mars because it was too big a waste of tax payer money. Today, Max Boot (Los Angeles times, reg. reqd) might have an answer for Frank. Make it a a contest, with the winner to get $20bn for the (successful? he doesn't specify) first manned mission to Mars and back. He even cites an 8 year old article advocating the use of commercial sponsorship for the "competitors". He mentions the Olympics, but it sounds more like a big yacht race to me.
Anyway, I say, why not give it a go? $20bn is a drop in the ocean compared with the $500bn $1trillion that some people mentioned for a NASA run project.