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New Asteroid Secrecy
But why? –
Information from military satellites about incoming asteroids has always been given to scientists in the past, but now the military has suddenly classified the information.
A recent US military policy decision now explicitly states that observations by spy satellites of incoming fireballs have been classified as secret so they cannot be released. These are satellites that detect nuclear bomb sites and tests, such as those in North Korea and Iran. As a side effect, they have also detected potentially incoming asteroids. This means that incoming space rocks that may explode in our atmosphere are now classified, so we cannot be prepared for a possible cataclysm.
In Space.com, Leonard David quotes an anonymous NASA scientist as saying, "It's baffling to us why this would suddenly change. It's unfortunate because there was this great synergy, a very good cooperative arrangement. Systems were put into dual-use mode where a lot of science was getting done that couldn't be done any other way. It's a regrettable change in policy."
David quotes NASA's David Morrison as saying, "The fireball data from military or surveillance assets have been of critical importance for assessing the impact hazard." Are they afraid that someone might identify these space rocks as incoming UFOs?
The satellites' main objectives include detecting nuclear bomb tests, and their characterizations of asteroids and lesser meteoroids as they crash through the atmosphere has been a byproduct data bonanza for scientists. The upshot: Space rocks that explode in the atmosphere are now classified.
guys, come on!
this is not about detecting incoming meteors, it's about detecting meteors exploding in our atmosphere.
The satellites' main objectives include detecting nuclear bomb tests, and their characterizations of asteroids and lesser meteoroids as they crash through the atmosphere has been a byproduct data bonanza for scientists.
this info was gladly shared before the incident with flight 447 and now suddenly and without explanation it isn't anymore.
But all that ended within the last few months, leaving scientists blind-sided and miffed by the shift in policy. The hope is that the policy decision will be revisited and overturned.
In January 2000, a meteor only 15 ft (5 m) across entered the atmosphere and exploded over the town of Whitehorse in the Canadian Yukon. The blast created an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) similar to that of a high-altitude nuclear detonation and disabled a third of the region's electrical power grid.
"What we've found as we dug into this is that there was quite a bit of gapping that had occurred, even before the routine review that we did back in March," Rego said. "So notwithstanding the routine policy review, what we're doing in the next few weeks here...is circling the wagons so that we can remove some of the Ad Hoc nature."
Rego also spotlighted his concern that there's no real mechanism in place to ensure that the bolide data is sent to science researchers in a timely manner.
So by tightening the organizational ship, can the useful bolide data for scientific purposes be made available more quickly?
"Sooner and more consistently," Rego said. "We can probably do this better."
"The data is out there. It's not impacting military operations to gather the data that's important to the scientific community," Rego added. "Let's take a look at how we can do that in a timely and collegiate manner."