Re: Funding in the states
NASA's problem is that it's not in control of NASA. The House & Senate subcommittees that allocate funds also issue requirements as to what NASA spends its money on. SLS is the biggest example of these. 16 billion dollars between 2012 & the end of 2017 for Orion & the first SLS flight in December 2017.
A complete waste of money, IMHO. For a fraction of that, they could buy Falcon Heavies and save a fortune, allowing them to do Mars & Jupiter & Jupiters moons & the outer planets/moons as well.
Another aspect of the problem is that the politicians are prone to change their priorities so at the start of any program, there's no guarantee the funding won't be cut prior to the end of the program.