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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Whizkid Corrects NASA Figures

NASA calculated the odds of the Apophis asteroid colliding with Earth at 1 in 45,000 -- pretty good odds, all things considered -- but a 13-year old German whizkid noticed a discrepancy, and recalculated those figures for a science project. 

And NASA says his figures are correct!

Nico Marquardt noticed the astronomically-inclined eggheads had failed to consider the very real possibility of Apophis hitting one of the 40,000 satellites orbiting Earth on its 2029 run.   If that happens, it will change the asteroid's trajectory, making it hit Earth on its 2036 run.   Marquardt calculated the odds of this happening at 1 in 450!

And NASA agreed.

If the asteroid hits Earth, it will land in the Atlantic Ocean, creating devastating tsunamis which will destroy coastlines as well as inland sites, and create a cloud of dust which will indefinitely darken the sky.

The name, Apophis, comes originally from the Egyptians.  He was the enemy of the sun god, Re, and was a much feared serpent of the Underworld.  The name continued into later mythologies, always referring to serpent gods.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, that was two years ago. You shouldn't have much trouble finding stories regarding it if you search for "marquardt NASA."

    Good luck!