Computer models in science can be useful -- until you start believing in them.
For every problem there is a solution that is simple, elegant and wrong. – H. L. Mencken
Central peaks of the lunar crater Copernicus: Covered in astro-fairy dust?
Accuracy in scientific reporting (and thus the education of the public) is wholly dependent on a reporter’s understanding of the material they’re covering. Making a reporter’s job even more challenging is the fact that some research results themselves can be misleading. A variant of my post title above appeared recently over a story reporting the results of a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience. That study used computer modeling to simulate the effects of a low velocity impact on the Moon. Computer models of natural phenomena are made in an attempt to understand complex processes that we could otherwise not be able to address.
To briefly set the stage on this new work, we believe that the vast majority of craters on the Moon and planets are formed by the collision of solid objects with these bodies. These impacts occur at very high speeds; on the Moon, the average velocity of impact is about 20,000 meters per ...