OMG! We’re All Gonna Die!

Well we all will, but not today, and probably not tomorrow, either.

Even Slashdot re-reported the story, yesterday, about “The German school boy” who re-did NASA’s calculations for the odds of the Apophis asteroid hitting the earth in 2036, and found NASA to be in error.

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.

That was yesterday.  Today?  Um… Nevermind.

There’s only one problem with the story: the kid’s sums are in fact wrong, NASA’s are right, and the ESA swear blind they never said any different. An ESA spokesman in Germany told the Reg this morning: “A small boy did do these calculations, but he made a mistake… NASA’s figures are correct.”

This Emily Latella moment is brought to you by way of The UK Register.

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