Nico Marquardt is 13 years old but he was still apparently smarter than NASA in calculating the chances of a killer asteroid colliding with Earth. Germany’s own Jimmy Neutron not only corrected NASA’s math on the collision of the Apophis asteroid, but it turns out a lot more likely than we thought.
Marquardt saw a problem in the NASA calculations after he decided to review the telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP). Nothing strange there, of course. We all spent our teenage years crunching the math on asteroid path data. But, Marquart concluded that NASA was wrong in finding that there was a 1 in 45,000 chance of the asteroid hitting the Earth. His calculations, which NASA has verified, show that it is more like 1 in 450.
Under his calculations, the asteroid could strike a satellite in 2029 and as a result hit the earth on its next orbit in 2036. There is so much celebration of this little Brainiac’s triumph that no one seems to notice that our chances of global disaster is now 1 in 450, if he is correct — pretty close odds considering the impact. The asteroid would amount to a 1049 foot ball of iron hitting the Atlantic Ocean and wiping out coastal areas and blacking the sky. After we give little Nico his science badge, we may want to discuss the charming apocalyptic event that his figures suggest.
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