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NASA emails reveal the agency didn't see a big, 'mean' almost asteroid



NASA internal emails reveal that experts are not detecting an asteroid the size of a football field until it is about to miss Earth this summer.

In emails received from BuzzFeed News requesting the Freedom of Information Act, NASA officials asked each other how the asteroid, called "2019 OK," evaded detection until the observatory in Brazil announced it on July 24 – the same day as it passed through our planet.

In the electronic circuit Paul Chodas, NASA Governor, the Center for Earth Studies has asked two questions: first, "why in 2019 OK was not discovered by one of NASA's largest studies?" And second, if the Brazilian observatory had not caught the asteroid, "could it have escaped the discovery completely? "

" BTW, everything for context only, it looks like 2019 OK is the biggest asteroid [to] going so close to Earth last century! "Planet Defense Officer Lindley Johnson said in a follow-up email." [19659005] 12 PHOTOS

Pictures of recently visited asteroids

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In this image, released on Thursday, July 11, 2019 by Japanese Space Research Agency (JAXA), shows Japanese Spacecraft Hayabusa2 its asteroid landing site for sampling. JAXA performed a series of operations to secondly remove the asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" on the Ryugu asteroid and collect its soil samples. (JAXA via AP)

In this image, taken and released on Thursday, July 11, 2019 by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 shows its asteroid landing site to collect samples. JAXA performed a series of operations to secondly remove the asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" on the Ryugu asteroid and collect its soil samples. (JAXA via AP)

In this image, taken and published on Thursday, July 11, 2019 by Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 is landing on an asteroid to collect samples. JAXA performed a series of operations to secondly remove the asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2" on the Ryugu asteroid and collect its soil samples. (JAXA via AP)

This image, published by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), shows the Ryugu asteroid Friday, April 5, 2019. crater on its surface and collect underground samples to find possible clues to the origin of the solar system. Friday's mission is the most risky for Hayabusa2, as it must immediately escape to avoid being hit by flying fragments of the blast. (JAXA via AP)

This December 2, 2018 image combination, provided by NASA, shows a set of stereoscopic images of a large, 170-foot (52-foot) stone flowing from the asteroid of the Southern Hemisphere of Bennu and the rocky slopes that surround it. 3D images were taken by the Osiris-Rex spacecraft. (NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona via AP)

FILE – This file mosaic image composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on December 2, 2018 and provided by NASA shows the Bennu asteroid. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft entered orbit on Monday, December 31, 2018, around the Bennu asteroid, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) from Earth. It is the smallest celestial body that has ever been in orbit by a spacecraft. Bennu is only 1,600 feet (500 meters) transverse. (NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona via AP, File)

On October 26, 2018, an image taken by Rover-1A and provided by the Japan Aerospace Research Agency (JAXA) on Thursday, December 13, 2018, shows the surface of the Ryugu asteroid. JAXA, Japan's space agency, said Thursday, December 13, 2018, that more than 200 images taken by two small asteroid riders show no sign of a smooth zone for the planned launch of the spacecraft early next year. (JAXA via AP)

On this November 16, 2018, an image provided by NASA shows the Bennu asteroid. After a two-year pursuit, a NASA spacecraft arrived on the ancient asteroid Benoit, its first visitor in billions of years. Osiris-Rex, a robotic explorer, pulled 12 miles (19 kilometers) from the rhombic space rock on Monday, December 3rd. The image taken by the PolyCam camera shows Bennu at 300 pixels and is stretched to increase the contrast between accents and shadows. (NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona via AP)

FILE – This image, taken on September 23, 2018, taken by Rover-1B and provided by the Japan Aerospace Research Agency (JAXA), shows the surface of the Ryugu asteroid. The Japanese space agency is delaying the spacecraft's attack on the asteroid, as scientists need more time to find a safe landing spot on an extremely rocky surface. (JAXA via AP, File)

This image, taken on September 21, 2018, taken at an altitude of about 64 meters by Hayabusa2 and provided on September 27 by the Japan Aerospace Research Agency (JAXA), shows the surface of the Ryugu asteroid.
New photos taken on the surface of an asteroid show it is (drum, please) … rocky. This may come as no surprise, but scientists and engineers at the Japan Space Agency are still excited by the images sent to Earth by two jumping robotic rowers that have descended on an asteroid about 280 million kilometers (170 miles). Japan Aerospace Research Agency publishes the latest images on its website at the end of Thursday, September 27 (JAXA, Tokyo University and Affiliate Institutions through AP)

This computer graphic image provided by Japan Space Research Agency (JAXA) shows two drum-shaped drums and a Minerva-II-1 solar asteroid. Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 has launched two small Minerva-II-1 Rovers on the Ryugu asteroid on Friday, September 21, 2018, in a research effort that may provide clues to the origin of the solar system. JAXA said confirmation of the rovers' push should wait until it received data on Saturday. (JAXA via AP)

FILE – This computer graphic image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows an asteroid and asteroid explorer Hayabusa2. Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 has launched two small Minerva-II-1 Rovers on the Ryugu asteroid on Friday, September 21, 2018, in a research effort that may provide clues to the origin of the solar system. JAXA said confirmation of the rovers' push should wait until it received data on Saturday. (JAXA via AP)




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NASA experts have determined that a combination of factors ultimately made the agency miss it, including the position of the moon, bad weather and slow moving of the asteroid.

"So this was just a particularly mean asteroid?" Chodas asked. "I wonder how many times it has happened without the asteroid being discovered at all."

Johnson says in an email that this omission is "an interesting story about the limitations of our current inquiry network."

The incident highlights

] NASA experts have also expressed dissatisfaction with the way Australian scientists and the media sensitize the asteroid, describing it as a "city killer".

"It may be useful to ask them to think before they talk (about nuclear explosions and the like ..)," reads an email from a processed sender.

"Everyone else – including WaPo – is just a repeat. .. This story also tells me that we need to keep up the good work to calm the asteroid rhetoric. Killers of cities, nuclear weapons and more. "

According to a NASA OK 2019 news release last month, if the asteroid hits Earth, it would create" localized devastation to an area approximately 50 miles everywhere. " If he had fallen in the ocean, it would have been "a bad day for every vessel in the area", but it is doubtful he would have caused a tsunami.

The chances of an asteroid of this size hitting Earth is "only in the order of once every few thousand years," Chodas says.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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