Have you thanked a modeling and simulation engineer today? Check out the NASA/JPL video showing the most recent trajectory simulation for Apophis 99942 asteroid.
On April 13, 2029, Earth has a 1 in 250,000 chance of having a very bad day.
Instead of freaking out, maybe we should catch it?
I’m pissed off at NASA.
Yes. I felt exceptionally let down after their horribly anticlimactic LCROSS impact earlier this month. One 5AM retweet still reverberates in my mind: “Only NASA could make blowing up the moon boring”.
But I’m not pissed off about that. Novelist and scholar Issac Asimov once appropriately quipped “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny …’”.
The fact that the impact’s plume was less than expected yields new insight and discussion. Why didn’t this behave the way we expected it to behave? What didn’t we account for? Do we need to modify our models? Or is it Neptune’s fault?
The reason I’m actually pissed off is that I believe NASA is failing (or at least slipping in their attempts) to inspire and ignite the dwindling scientific interest of our youth. And as Fountains of Wayne struggled to repeat their success of “Stacy’s Mom”, NASA too has struggled to surpass its Moon landing.