September 19, 2014

NASA can't even spot enough asteroid

Vox - In 2005, Congress assigned NASA the task of locating 90 percent of all near-Earth asteroids big enough to cause significant damage if they hit us by 2020.

"Only about 10% of these asteroids have been spotted so far"

On Monday, a new NASA audit concluded that the agency is nowhere near meeting this goal.

According to NASA inspector general Paul Martin, only about 10 percent of these asteroids have been spotted so far, despite a tenfold increase in funding since 2009 for the program responsible. For the audit, the agency confirmed it will not reach the 90 percent goal.

Last week, a relatively small asteroid passed extremely close to Earth — ten times as close as the moon, and as close as some of our communications satellites. We had about one week of warning between when astronomers spotted it and when it arrived.

Pocket paradigms

Whatever the source, it now takes longer, requires more paper, and stirs up more intimations of liability to do almost anything worthwhile than it once did. While our rhetoric overflows with phrases like "entrepreneurship" and "risk-taking," the average enterprise of any magnitude is actually characterized by cringing caution with carefully constructed emergency exits leading from every corner of chance. We have been taught that were we to move unprotected into time and space, they might implode into us. Every law office is a testament to our fear and lack of trust. - Sam Smith


To die for an idea is to set a rather high price on conjecture - Anatole France

Recovered history