- Billionaire Nathan Myhrvold at a talk
STATES CHRONICLE – Billionaire Nathan Myhrvold, ex-Microsoft mogul accuses NASA of making fundamental errors when estimating asteroid size.
This is not the first critic the techie brings to any study. In 2013, he pointed the finger at a research describing dinosaur rate growth and indicated the study’s flaws.
The billionaire dinosaur geek has a new obsession which has brought us at the crossroads of this news article: asteroids.
The CEO of Intellectual Ventures says scientist reading data from a popular NASA space telescope have made critical errors in assessing the size of a lot of asteroids; 157,000 to be precise.
Myhrvold aimed at the data provided by the satellite telescope Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) launched in 2009 and its NEOWISE follow-up mission which compared to other observatories around the world, have discovered the most asteroids.
In his paper posted on arXiv.org, the billionaire says none of the NASA’s work from the WISE and NEOWISE can be replicated.
In more technical terms, although the teams claimed to have determined the asteroids diameters with a 10% (better) accuracy, the techie says they ignored the margin error when they extrapolated the results to an entire population.
He also noted that the NASA scientists did not include the Kirchoff law in their thermal models. The errors in the asteroid size reach about 30 percent, but in some cases go as high as 300 percent.
The billionaire has submitted this work to the Icarus journal for a review.
NASA’s principal investigator for the WISE mission, Ned Wright, fights back and responds that if he’d have a “bounty” for “every mistake” found in Myhrvold’s paper, he’d “get rich.” The National Aeronautics and Space Administration specialist stands by the results his team has gathered and states that their data is confirmed by two other telescopes, the infrared AKARI and IRAS telescopes.
Another NASA specialist, Amy Mainzer says the billionaire’s paper is full of goofs, one of them being confusing diameter with radius in one formula.
Myhrvold answered NASA’s criticism stating he’ll correct these “cosmetic” errors and will prove his points still stand. He also believes the reason the named teams are “so defensive” is because they are involved in a new proposal for a future telescope.
Write adds Nathan Myhrvold is responsible for a lot of “bad software” which might be partly to blame for his computer codes turning bad results.
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