Thousands of space rocks of varying size pass by the Earth every year. NASA constantly scans the outer space around the Earth to maintain a database of asteroids that are heading towards our planet. This helps them to determine which asteroids are likely to be on a collision course with our planet. They then focus on those asteroids to get more information about them so that a deflecting can be designed. Getting these detailed data is also important to understand the impact that can be created by the asteroids if the collision takes place after failing all deflection attempts. A space rock of the size of a small house can cause an explosion like an atom bomb.
What Is Wrong With NASA’s Asteroid Observation –
Dr. Nathan P.Myhrvold, the former chief technologist at Microsoft, claimed a few years ago that NASA’s observation procedure and data collection are completely flawed and extremely unreliable. NASA dismissed such a claim and even mocked at the criticism. But his arguments are now published in Icarus which is one of most prestigious journals on planetary science. A lot of knowledgeable persons have agreed with his criticisms where he proved that the diameters of the asteroids coming towards the Earth as measured by NASA are actually 10% of the actual size of the space rocks. He has blamed the satellite that is designed to scan the objects on the path of Earth. The satellite measures the distant objects and not meant for nearby asteroids, and hence, there is an inefficiency of a large scale in the data collected.
In 2011, NeoWise was into existence which is a NASA project to list the sizes and reflectivity of the asteroids approaching Earth. Till date, around 158,000 asteroids have been scanned for data. NASA has been defending its data and its process of collection of data ever since Dr. Myhrvold unveiled his research paper. Until recently, his research was published Icarus and NASA mocked it by saying that it is a waste of paper.
Here Is Where It Gets Its Merit –
Despite NASA’s mocks and dismissal, NASA’s own David Morrison claims that most of what Dr. Myhrvold is arguing about is actually true. Dr. Myhrvold has shown that the reflected sunlight is responsible for the inaccurate measurement of size and reflectivity of the asteroids as done by NASA NeoWise project. He has published two papers so far, and there are many in the pipeline to support his claim even further. Even some retired NASA’s scientists have supported Dr. Myhrvold’s claim.