Because telescopes cannot get an accurate view of impending asteroids that come from the direction of the Sun, the most important project requiring funding is the Sentinel Space Telescope because out in space it won’t have the Sun’s glare to contend with. Apparently the Defense Budget is 29 times larger than NASA’s budget (after the sequester)and that budget doesn’t reflect much of the payments owed for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The entire world is threatened by Asteroids and anything else from space but instead NASA has to divide their budget among eighty something projects. To be honest, NASA seems to be the better investment.
Consider this – The United States. nay, the Earth is woefully unprepared for any incoming Meteor or other space event because of constant budget cuts, dismissal of projects etc. by the same people who will complain the loudest that NASA isn’t prepared should the day come – and rest assured, it will!
Going to Mars, Going to the Moon – perhaps setting up residence, Laser Communications in space, Keppler's search for a new earth and yes watching the skies for Asteroids, all of this is necessary now because one day we might NEED to go there in a moment’s notice and if we haven’t done the trials we can’t win the race.
Congress asked how much advance notice would we need to respond to the threat of an Asteroid and the answer was probably years. Congress asked some of the right questions in what was part a teaching session and seemed to get a feel for what was lacking. They asked things such as could the James Webb Telescope be retrofitted to search for Asteroids and the answer was no. They did seem intrigued by the idea of having private citizens from all over the world act as watchers of the skies, which is worrisome. They might have missed that part about the Sun glare preventing a portion of the sky from being watched from earth’s orbit, and maybe they missed the part about that being where the Asteroid that hit Russia came from.
While it would seem that the Earth is good at the out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach, and catastrophic meteors seem to hit about every 20,000 years, perhaps the fact that Mars is about to be struck by a comet will serve as a better than gentle reminder that the earth could be next.