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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Did A 13 Year Old's Science Fair Project Cause NASA To Alter It's Prediction?

A German tabloid is claiming that the research conducted by a 13 year old school boy for his science fair project forced NASA to change it's predictions regarding a "near earth object" and it's chances of colliding with Earth. For it's part NASA spokesman Duane Brown says "NASA has never corresponded with this individual,". "We've spoken with [Near-Earth Object program manager] Don Yeomans, who came up with our current prediction for the asteroid, and he's sticking to his numbers." The student, Nico Marquardt, reportedly has the chances for the Apophis asteroid hitting the Earth in 2036 at one-in-450, while NASA put the odds at one-in-45,000. The discrepancy lies in NASA's failure to account for the chance of the asteroids trajectory being altered by a collision with a satellite according to the tabloid... I think I'll trust the NASA numbers. The CBC has the story, including a brief description of the Torino Scale for describing the damage that impact from a NEO is rated... think I'll look into that a bit more.