So.. Congress wants to fund a mission to Mars (a base as well) and a Moon base.. but want to nix the mission to collect and land on an asteroid.
That is like planning a road trip yet forgetting to factor in the fact that you need gas money. There is a damn good reason NASA (AND the Obama Administration) made asteroids part of their main goals. Actually, a few..
1) The more eyes we have on the sky, the more we realize our demise will probably come in the form of an asteroid. We could ask the dinosaurs, but, oh wait, they got wiped out by an asteroid. Or two. The question isn’t if.. it’s when.
2) In order to have bases on the Moon and Mars, one must also obviously have an eye on exploring beyond Mars and creating other “gas stations” besides the one fueling our rockets before they leave Earth. Yes, the Moon has tons of potential fuel.. but again, it is tidally locked to the one fueling depot we have: Earth.
One of the main point to hunting and exploring asteroids was to acquire all minerals and gases that go flying by. Knowledge of these beasts would allow us to put them into a controllable orbit around the Earth or wherever else we’d happen to be.. why? It’s a readymade gas station with valuable minerals and metals.. handmade by the universe itself.
I just believe it is very dumb to skip this step.