A world-renowned Australian astronomer, who has discovered 400 comets and asteroids, may be forced to abandon his work searching for objects on a potential collision course with Earth.
Rob McNaught has lost the NASA funding he relies on as the only astronomer in the southern hemisphere working on an Arizona-based survey to find and track near-Earth objects and possibly help prevent catastrophic collisions.
The Australian National University has stepped in to temporarily support Mr McNaught, but said long-term funding beyond the end of this year is ”not going to come from the university”.Mr McNaught’s record working in the Uppsala Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory, near Coonabarabran, NSW, is formidable.
Since 1987, he has discovered 70 comets, more than twice as many as any other astronomer in history. According to Mr McNaught, the Siding Spring Survey – the only project observing near Earth objects in the southern hemisphere – ”gets a chance to see objects that the northern hemisphere surveys can’t research”.
So when a city gets wiped out or we get whacked back into an ice-age. This is why. NASA maybe broke, but our government is not. But suppose they got boat people to worry about.