The budget for 2014 that President Obama will propose next Wednesday bears all the hallmarks of a man who no longer has to worry about winning an election. There's something in there to piss off everyone — except people who love science! Space science.
You see, while the budget calls for tax increases and benefit cuts that should reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over the next 10 years, it also gives $100 million to NASA for what SPACE.com describes as:
An audacious program to drag an asteroid into orbit around the moon for research and exploration purposes.
That's right — we're going to lasso an asteroid. And that's not all! According to Senator Bill Nelson (emphasis on the cool science stuff added): "The plan combines the science of mining an asteroid, along with developing ways to deflect one, along with providing a place to develop ways we can go to Mars."
Obama's budgets have see-sawed when it comes to NASA funding. Though he'd allocated funding to manned missions to Mars in previous budgets (and expressed a desire that NASA focus on Mars exploration), last year's budget cut NASA's funding to its lowest level in four years.
Since then, however, Obama has won the re-election, that meteor thing happened in Russia, and DA14 came perilously close to us, so this is as good a time as any to get those pesky space rocks under control.