Monday, August 15, 2005

Deep Impact a big dud?

Kind of old reference now, but I'm putting it in anyway: an interesting exchange between two of my favorite space science writers, Bruce Moomaw and Oliver Morton. They discuss the spectacular comet impact probe, Deep Impact, that got lots of news coverage over July 4th, but may turn out to be disappointing in terms of science results.

Besides just being interesting, I think this issue points to a problem with space journalism being much less critical than it should be of its subject. Deep Impact received front page coverage everywhere, but try and find discussion of whether it worked as a science mission.

It's understandable that journalists don't want to skewer scientists that are just trying to do something good, but the taxpayers spent over $300 million on that probe and deserve to know if NASA administrators used politics instead of science when selecting space missions. Both Morton and Moomaw (especially Moomaw) are capable of making criticisms, so that makes their work especially worthwhile compared to the normal space journalism.

key: science, space

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