NASA Rebukes Flawed Asteroid Mission Accusation By Former Microsoft Executive

First Posted: May 29, 2016 08:12 AM EDT

Earlier this month, a former Microsoft executive Dr Nathan Myhrvold had accused NASA of underestimating the sizes of asteroids near Earth. In a paper written by him, the techie billionaire had pointed to dangers of large asteroids striking the planet blaming NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope and its miscalculations of the sizes of more than 157,000 asteroids. However, NASA has now officially criticized Myhrvold's claim.

NASA put up a response on its website stating that Myhrvold's paper was published before going through the peer-review process by any independent journal, which is an essential scientific step to check a paper and remove flaws or errors in it. The review process is also necessary to make sure the results are independently valuable, reproducible and validated, so that they can benefit the science community.  

Myhrvold had argued whether the teams of researchers at NEOWISE actually knew as much as they proclaimed to. Furthermore, the former Microsoft executive had criticized the NEOWISE results of being full of bad statistics and analysis. "The bad news is it's all basically wrong," Nathan Myhrvold had said. "Unfortunately for a lot of it, it's never going to be as accurate as they had hoped. None of their results can be replicated. I found one irregularity after another". Furthermore, NEOWISE's data was said to be "very funky, ad hoc, invalid set of statistical analyses".

NASA maintains that all the papers published by the NEOWISE team are meticulously put through the peer review process. Furthermore, the US space agency supports the data and scientific findings of the NEOWISE team and is confident it had performed valid as well as verified processes and analyses. The NEOWISE mission data release is available publicly along with supporting documentations and data access instructions. A list of peer-reviewed papers using the NEOWISE data is also open for public access.

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