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Meteorite crash into earth is 1 in 50 risk in 2036

A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA's estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported, 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 one in 50 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth, the Potsdamer Neuerster Nachrichten reported.

NASA had previously estimated the chances at only one in 45,000 but told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that the young whizzkid had got it right.

The schoolboy took into consideration the risk of Apophis running into one or more of the 40,000 satellites orbiting Earth during its path close to the planet on April 13, 2029.

Those satellites travel at 3.07 kilometres a second, at up to 35,880 kilometres above earth - and the Apophis asteroid will pass by earth at a distance of 32,500 kilometres.

If the asteroid strikes a satellite in 2029, that will change its trajectory making it hit Earth on its next orbit in 2036.

Of course if it does it's the end of life as we know it. 

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Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 April, 2008, 09:34Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I think it's a 1 in 450 chance - at least that's what's the media are reporting now. Just checked the figures myself on my trusty calculator.

The way we're going we'll be lucky if the planet lasts another thirty years.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 April, 2008, 10:19Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Thank you, it was one of the few times I didn't have my trusty napkin handy to check the numbers myself. I might mention that the odds are IF it hits something on it's pass in 2029 then it has a chance of hitting the Earth. Murphy's law is likely to apply here.

We better save those old nukes and make sure Bruce Willis stays in shape.

Paul Penrose
Paul Penrose - Finextra - London 16 April, 2008, 10:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes There's got to be a financial angle in there somewhere. An apocalypse market with some underlying derivatives action for hedging strategies might do the trick.
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 April, 2008, 14:54Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes We can all breathe a sigh of relief. Seems this was a non story. Mind you they'd want you to think that wouldn't they?
A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 April, 2008, 05:57Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I've thought long and hard and I'm afraid Richard Branson is probably going to have it covered. Better make friends with the owner of the only private space craft that is likely to be available for a timely off world jaunt before the moment of impact.

Maybe he can take Bruce Willis out and blow it up if there's ever a problem with wayward space objects? Now there's a 'service' - and he could get us all to pay 'insurance'.

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