posted on Apr, 23 2003 @ 06:53 PM
I remember that nobody said anything when NEAT passed earth the first time until it was a safe distance away. I think this could happen again. It
may well just be an attempt to stop people from worrying when there is no need to. If NEAT comes close to earth, but not too close, people may still
panic, and NASA might want to prevent anarchy by witholding information. It doesnt necessarily mean they would let us all die in ignorance. Posted by
There may be some truth to this. It is a known fact that most of the recent NEO incidents where an asteroid passed within a couple of LDs (lunar
distances, about a quarter million miles from earth), it was NOT reported in the media until AFTER the encounter.
This could be, as you mention, an attempt to stem panic, or it could simply be very poor observing (IE, not finding them until they have passed and
are heading away from us). I would hope if anything it was the former, but considering how big the sky is and how few observers are looking into it,
the latter is a very real possibility. This would certainly create the possibility of a NEO approaching to impact without anyone being aware of it.
In any event, from the perspective of a scientist, I believe that NASA has the responsibility of informing the population if there is a significant
possiblity of impact, regardless of potential panic or backlash. It would be far better to allow the people an oppotunity to make what plans they
could to attempt to survive rather than to die in complete ignorance.
*Speaking of backlash, perhaps NASA took a page from the USGS? They may be afraid of mentioning the possibility of a potential impact for fear of
backlash, IE panic mongering due to the media. In either event, I still stand by my comments above.