Here is an article that considers the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth.
You may have heard about an asteroid in the news this week that has a 1 in 625 chance of hitting Earth on Feb. 5, 2040. So, will this asteroid, named 2011 AG5, really hit our planet? The quick answer is, probably not. But astronomers will need more observations of this asteroid to say one way or the other for sure.
“Because of the extreme rarity of an impact by a near-Earth asteroid of this size, I fully expect we will be able to significantly reduce or rule out entirely any impact probability for the foreseeable future,” said Donald Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (continued here)
Do we need a space program? No. Although I think we need a military space capability, but I do not think we need a civilian space program operated by the government. Socialism does not work any better in space than in works on the ground.
Just the same, we do need to protect ourselves from the possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth, and obviously government will have to do something. The question is: what?
Perhaps our government should periodically awards prizes to the individuals and companies that help to design a solution for the problem. Then, when it becomes necessary, our government can hire a contractor to do something about a threatening asteroid. As it is, it is only a matter of time before an asteroid does hit the earth, and there is not much we could do about it.
Fortunately, the asteroid due to arrive in our vicinity in 2040 is not especially big. It would create a mess, but the damage would be local, not global. So we could just have people move out of the way. Unfortunately, if a really big asteroid hits the earth, we have no where to go.