Scoot over Nasa, your time is, unfortunately, over. Nasa won't get its budget back because most governments don't seem to do any planning beyond the next election cycle anymore.
Luckily there is still hope, mostly in the form of private companies willing to take the plunge.
Most have heard about SpaceX and their recent successful launch (with the help of Nasa) of a supply module to the ISS, and their goal is set higher; manned travel to moon and Perhaps Mars. And they are not the only ones set to commercialize space.
Just about everyone knows the name James Cameron director of Titanic and Avatar (or better yet, Terminator 2 and Aliens). Haven't heard of him? I bet you've heard of Google... Well, they are backing something quite awesome, and no it isn't a movie about searching stuff, it is this: Asteroid mining!
It isn't really short term, but not that long either, from the article linked in the precious sentence, asteroid mining could be up and running in 2025. Apart from mining precious metals, they will also be mining water. "Water?" you ask "Don't we have enough of that here already?". Well yes, we have plenty of water here, but not on the moon. Why would we need water on the moon? Well, the Russian cosmonauts need a drink on their moonbase! (Ok skeptical about the Russians actually building a moonbase....the Chinese will probably beat them to it
As you can see I am quite enthusiastic about this stuff and I have often wondered if I was not born a century to soon. I am quite optimistic though about seeing some of this cool stuff happen during my lifetime.
For more Nerd articles check out io9 which is probably my favorite blog out there. It has crazy science articles like the three linked above, but also movie and tv-show stuff, articles about writing fantasy/science fiction and other nerdy stuff.