Thursday, April 17, 2008

German Schoolboy Corrects NASA

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g6fIS_34_CxE8-vcC5GvbjD4MIOQ

German schoolboy, 13, corrects NASA's asteroid figures: paper

Agence-France Presse
15 April 2008

BERLIN (AFP) - A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA's estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported Tuesday, after spotting the boffins had miscalculated.

Nico Marquardt used telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) to calculate that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth, the Potsdamer Neuerster Nachrichten reported.

NASA had previously estimated the chances at only 1 in 45,000 but told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that the young whizzkid had got it right. [...]

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/apr/HQ_08103_student_asteroid_calculations.html

NASA
16 April 2008

NASA Statement on Student Asteroid Calculations

WASHINGTON -- The Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., has not changed its current estimates for the very low probability (1 in 45,000) of an Earth impact by the asteroid Apophis in 2036.

Contrary to recent press reports, NASA offices involved in near-Earth object research were not contacted and have had no correspondence with a young German student, who claims the Apophis impact probability is far higher than the current estimate.

This student's conclusion reportedly is based on the possibility of a collision with an artificial satellite during the asteroid's close approach in April 2029. However, the asteroid will not pass near the main belt of geosynchronous satellites in 2029, and the chance of a collision with a satellite is exceedingly remote.

Therefore, consideration of this satellite collision scenario does not affect the current impact probability estimate for Apophis, which remains at 1 in 45,000.

http://cosmos4u.blogspot.com/2008/04/apophis-risk-not-increased-science-fair.html

Cosmos4u [Blog]
16 April 2008

Apophis risk not increased: science fair judges, world media screw up big time