Bad Astronomy

No, a 13 year old boy did not correct NASA

I’ve been getting email about a ridiculous story that a 13 year old boy showed that NASA was wrong about the impact risk from the asteroid Apophis. According to the story, NASA didn’t account for the chance of the asteroid hitting a satellite orbiting the Earth, which would change its course and up the odds of impact. There are about a zillion red flags in the story (no NASA scientist interviewed, the odds went from 1 in 45,000 to 1 in 450, why would impacting a tiny satellite change the course of a 300+ meter wide rock? and more, but I have been too busy traveling or preparing to travel to tackle it.

However, Cosmos4U has the details. I’m glad to say that so many people who emailed me about this were skeptical! This news story is clearly a total fabrication.

Also, there is a thread on Fark about this. Scroll down and keep your eyes open for some pictures people posted. :-)

Hat tip to the bazillion people who told me about this, and the Fark stuff too.