NASA's effort to identify potentially dangerous space rocks has taken a hit.
If you want to talk about taking hits and crazy dangerous space rocks, man...I ended up on the roof of the garage battling invisible snakes before deciding I could fly...
On Monday, the space agency's inspector general released a report blasting NASA's Near Earth Objects program, which is meant to hunt and catalog comets, asteroids and relatively large fragments of these objects that pass within 28 million miles of Earth. The purpose is to protect the planet against their potential dangers.
Certainly making a nice catalog of the assorted space run-off will also protect the planet.
Most near-Earth objects harmlessly disintegrate before reaching Earth's surface. But there are exceptions, like the nearly 60-foot meteor that exploded over Russia in 2013, causing considerable damage.
Some windows broke in Volkonograd! Authorize billions in wasteful spending!
In a 44-page report, Inspector General Paul Martin said the Near Earth Objects program needs to be better organized and managed, with a bigger staff.
Job bloat and having many new managers who aren't sure who they're accountable to is clearly the answer. Only in a government agency can the solution to the expected waste and inefficiency actually make things much, much worse.
NASA's science mission chief, former astronaut John Grunsfeld, agreed and promised the problems will be fixed.
If you'd like one of these magical new government jobs please send in your "Asteroids" high scores.
I bet I'd play better if three other people were helping me hit the buttons.
For nearly a decade, the report noted, NASA has been tracking near-Earth objects bigger than 460 feet across. The goal was to catalog 90 percent by 2020.
A 10% failure rate would make it the most efficient government agency ever, but we've got a long way to go before that happens.
The space agency has discovered and plotted the orbits of more than 11,000 near-Earth objects since 1998, an estimated 10 percent. It does not expect to meet the 2020 deadline.
Working for the Fedgov, a one act play.
"Are you going to meet the deadline?"
"Okay. It doesn't matter anyway. Here's your pay."
The program has insufficient oversight, Martin's office concluded, and no established milestones to track progress.
Right now the "milestone" they're tracking is "was the Earth destroyed by falling objects." So far no, so all is well.
Aaron Zehner is the author of "Posts from the Underground," now available in paperback and e-book. Read free excerpts here and here.
His first novel "The Foolchild Invention" is also available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.