Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Apocalypse more likely thanks to teenager.

I am sure that this isn't breaking news to anyone, but I read a story today in which a 13 year old teenager from Germany figured out that NASA is wrong, and NASA was forced to agree.

Basically, there is a big asteroid called Aphosis heading in our general direction and it is supposed to arrive in 2029. NASA said that it only had a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting Earth. I, for one, like those odds. This kid redid the math and discovered that it's actually a 1 in 450 chance of smacking into us. Turns out, the kid was right. Still not horrible odds, but would you rather have a 1 in 45,000 chance of getting blasted in the eyeball with brass knuckles or a 1 in 450 chance? I thought so.

Does this freak anyone out other than me? It's not like I lie awake at nights pondering astro-physics, but the main reason for that is that I have put my faith in NASA to get it right. I know that humans make mistakes, and my faith is further encouraged knowing that the smart people at JPL, FermiLab and Stephen Hawking are all sitting around with nothing better to do than double check NASA's math and develop new theories on quantum physics. What I don't like is that some 13 year old kid basically just owned every astro-mathlete in the entire world. I am sure the kid is smart and all, but I simply don't like hearing news of an increased chance of an apocalypse coming from someone who probably can't talk to a girl without getting dizzy.

On the plus side, you know what this kids name is? Nico Marquardt. That at least explains his genius, even though my branch of the family dropped the "d". On the negative side, this was the result of a science fair project. A regional science fair. Not national, European, or international. Regional. We all did science fairs, and some of us even made it to regionals, generally on the basis of our awesome volcano's or our experiments with milk mold. This freaking kid did his regional science fair project on a killer asteroid, and in doing so possibly alerted mankind to it's extinction. Doesn't that sound completely out of place?

Let me quote directly from the AP article:

"Both NASA and Marquardt agree that if the asteroid does collide with earth, it will create a ball of iron and iridium 320 metres (1049 feet) wide and weighing 200 billion tonnes, which will crash into the Atlantic Ocean.

The shortwave's from that would create huge tsunami waves, destroying both coastlines and inland areas, whilst creating a thick cloud of dust that would darken the skies indefinitely."

It's great that NASA agrees with Nico. Perhaps they will purchase him a Wii as a reward for pointing out their blunder in incorrectly predicting the odds that a 200 billion ton iridium doom-ball might come visit us in just a few short years.

I would also like to point out that this entire post remained free of any Armageddon jokes, which I am sure you will see everywhere. We (meaning Me) here at TWWoT like to think we are better than that.


J.R.Shirley said...

"200 billion ton iridium doom ball"

Heh. If it happens, it was worth the laugh you gave me over it. :-)

Anonymous said...

On the plus side, it will cure the global Iridium shortage.