Bad Idea: Mission to Mars

Tom Wolfe wants us to get going on a manned mission to Mars. So did Dubya. Howabout we use NASA for things that will actually help the survival of the human race, as opposed to mere triumphant symbolism? Perhaps the government could spend that $100 billion on a comprehensive asteroid protection system, so that the close shave we're supposed to have in 2012 doesn't turn into a direct hit.