Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Red tape appears to be preventing the U.S. military from releasing meteorite data obtained by its nuclear test monitoring system.
Details of atmospheric meteor explosions, as recorded by U.S. military spacecraft sensors, were posted on a publicly accessible NASA website run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. In fact, the military-civil cooperation was spurred by the details of the February 2013 fireball explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia — termed a “superbolide” event. The website postings are designed to assist the scientific community’s investigation of bolides, or exceptionally bright fireballs.
However, multiple scientists noted that the JPL website had not been updated recently. That presumably meant that there was some sort of delay, as some fairly big events were detected by infrasound in the last year. “Because of budget and personnel reductions on our military partner, they ran into workforce issues to accomplish this task,” said Lindley Johnson, NEO program executive within the Planetary Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.
In other words, it looks like everyone in the military is saying “Ain’t my job, man!” so it doesn’t get done. They need to assign someone the job and be done with it.