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Tech titan Nathan Myhrvold revisits asteroid flap

Image: Nathan Myhrvold
Nathan Myhrvold shows off a fragment of the Chelyabinsk meteorite in his office at Intellectual Ventures in Bellevue, Wash. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)

Nathan Myhrvold is back, and this time he’s got peer review on his side.

Two years ago, the Seattle tech pioneer tangled with NASA and the scientists behind an infrared sky survey mission known as NEOWISE, over a data set that cataloged the characteristics of more than 157,000 asteroids.

In a lengthy assessment, Myhrvold said the NEOWISE team had made flawed and misleading correlations between the brightness and the size of asteroids.

In response, NASA pointed to mistakes in Myhrvold’s critique and noted that his claims hadn’t gone through scientific peer review. “It is important that any paper undergo peer review by an independent journal before it can be seriously considered,” NASA said at the time.

If that’s so, then it’s time for serious consideration. Myhrvold’s paper, “An Empirical Examination of WISE/NEOWISE Asteroid Analysis and Results,” has now been published (with corrections of what he acknowledged were mistakes) in the peer-reviewed journal Icarus.

And that’s not all.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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