Management problems at NASA’s asteroid hunting program


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An inspector general report today criticized NASA’s program to find potentially hazardous asteroids, finding it disorganized and poorly managed.

The report faulted the NEO Program’s lack of structure, and said its resources are inadequate for handling its growing agenda. In addition to the program’s Washington-based executive, Lindley Johnson, NASA funding goes to support six employees at the Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts and six more at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, the inspector general’s office said.

The report said the program’s executive fell short when it came to overseeing progress in the asteroid-tracking effort. What’s more, there were no formal partnerships with the Defense Department or the National Science Foundation, or with international space agencies. Those groups could make significant contributions to the effort, the report said.

I do not doubt that this program has management problems. What government agency today doesn’t? And any that are managed well are the exception to the rule. However, the report’s conclusion that “resources are inadequate for handling its growing agenda” is typical Washington-speak for “Give us more money!” which almost never solves the management problems that made the program a failure in the first place.

6 comments

  • Carl V. Accardo

    Hello Bob. I am having difficulty sourcing the piece you referenced on the JB Show last evening, wherein “Nature” boldly went where no man has gone before by acknowledging the fundamental climate change orthodoxy which states increased atmospheric CO2 must result in increased atmospheric average tempetures. Thank you for providing the coordinates, I am eager to read it.

  • There is no single paper in Nature that “states increased atmospheric CO2 must result in increased atmospheric average temperatures.” Instead, almost every paper published on climate over the past fifteen years in Nature — as well as most major science journals — has made this assumption. Some have focused on creating computer models to prove it. Some have focused on climate data itself. Many scientists in the field have been skeptical, but few have strongly questioned the assumption, or if they have, their questions have been actually squelched by peer pressure and the corrupt actions of some powerful global warming scientists, as proved in the climategate emails.

    I wrote about a good single paper example here. If you want to read a good summary based on these papers, then read the IPCC reports. If you want to see how the computer models have compared with the actual data, however, go here.

    I hope that answers your question.

  • David M. Cook

    Why doesn’t NASA put Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart in charge? He’s already running the B612 Foundation, and for a measly $450 Million they could detect all of the most dangerous rocks up there. Simply fire all of the managers at the NASA program and put any remaining people in B612. I guess that’s too simple for a bunch of rocket scientists!

  • David M. Cook

    OK, I just checked the B612 website at http://sentinelmission.org/our-team/leadership/ and I don’t see Rusty listed. Still, this organization would do a far better job at detecting these rocks than ANY government organization!

  • C. V. Accardo

    Thank you for your response Bob. I am still looking for the specific reference source doc that appeared in “Nature” you eluded to last evening on the John Batchelor Show. The reference I am interested in occurred during the programs fourth hour, 17:30 into the segment as I replayed the podcast.
    For the record, I concur with many of your concerns and opinions on this matter. From my perspective, I believe the debate as presented by the practitioners within “climate science-political complex” as I affectionately refer to it, is riddled with confirmation bias.
    So unless I misunderstood your comment, or you misspoke, there exists a specific reference where scientific skepticism actually crept into an article, published in “Nature” that I would appreciate reading and referring to going forward. I just can’t locate it. Thanks again, keep up your great work.

  • Oh, now I understand your questions. See my post here.

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