Layers of fact checkers

NASA: Giant asteroid to pay Earth a visit today; it will come horrifically close to our planet. How many errors or exaggerations can we find in this article? I found three:

There is always a risk that even the slightest deviation from its path will result in the asteroid being trapped by Earth’s gravitational pull, causing it to strike our planet.

The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 1,580,000 kilometers.

An interesting fact about 2022 FH is that it has a large deposit of silica, which is used in making silicon chips. With a global shortage of silicon chips, asteroids like these can be extremely crucial to mankind to conduct extraterrestrial mining mission.

The asteroid is not wandering around sniffing the trees on either side of a path and giving consideration to chasing a squirrel like a dog. The path is determined by it’s current direction, velocity, and the gravitational fields it is exposed to. These are all well known quantities. The asteroid is not going to deviate toward earth in an unexpected manner.

I don’t consider 1.58 million kilometers “horrifically close”. This is over four times the distance from the earth to the moon. Inside the moon’s orbit is something I would consider calling “horrifically close”.

The real whopper is the conflation of shortage of silicon chips with a shortage of silica. On earth silica is better known as sand:

However, the foremost common mineral within the sand is quartz–also referred to as silica.

As you might imagine silicon is rather common on Earth:

Silicon makes up 25.7% of the earth’s crust, by weight, and is the second most abundant element, being exceeded only by oxygen.

It’s going to be a more than a few years before it makes economic sense to mine asteroids for silicon to make electronic parts.

I would like to suggest the author of this clickbait provide services for used car dealerships and/or politicians rather than pretend dispensing technical news.

For the rest of us, this is another example of the unreliability of news sources. Keep this in mind whenever you read or hear anything. Reality is really really tough even when you are trying to get at the truth. And many people don’t even put minimal effort into it.


3 thoughts on “Layers of fact checkers

  1. Hindustan Times-catering to the lesser informed masses. To be uninformed, misinformed, or disinformed? I’ll have the variety platter.

  2. Oh my, and it’s a whole 18 meters wide! In comparison, this is an object 1/8th. the size of Jeff Bezo’s yacht, a million miles away? The horror…..
    As you mentioned Joe. Silica burning in our oxygen rich atmosphere would leave it as a sprinkling of sand. It wouldn’t even make a good dust-devil.
    Holy crap where do they get these people?
    That article was more a desperate cry from someone drowning in irrelevance. Thinking David Hogg is trying to break into the science scene?

    • Thinking David Hogg is trying to break into the science scene?

      SNORT! Hogg doesn’t have the brain power to define the word “science”.

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