We humans tend to think of ourselves as special, the culmination of the evolutionary tree. But that hardly seems credible to an astronomer, aware that although our Sun formed 4.5 billion years ago, it is barely in middle age. Should we regret our eventual obsolescence or try to prevent it -- to rage, rage against the dying of the mites, as it were?
Who cares if life as we know it can continue on the planet Earth? This is not a rhetorical question. Who, specifically, cares? As importantly, why should those of us who read this today give Near Earth Object detection and deflection any of our precious time, money, or attention?