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.
1 in 450 is pretty high. I don’t know if I want to be around in 2029 to see that one. I understand [I think from an earlier BON posting] that NASA has a plan to pull the asteroid off its collision course on the second pass. Maybe they better dust the plan off and start working on it.