Washington, Apr 17 : The asteroid Apophis still has a very low probability, only 1 in 45,000, of hitting Earth in 2036, according to NASA, despite recent reports suggesting that a 13-year-old German boy had discovered a major blunder in the space agency's analysis.
The reports suggested the risk of an impact was actually 100 times as great as NASA's estimate.
Contrary to recent press reports, NASA offices involved in near-Earth object research were not contacted and have had no correspondence with a young German student, who claims the Apophis impact probability is far higher than the current estimate.
This student's conclusion reportedly is based on the possibility of a collision with an artificial satellite during the asteroid's close approach in April 2029.
However, the asteroid will not pass near the main belt of geosynchronous satellites in 2029, and the chance of a collision with a satellite is exceedingly remote.
Therefore, consideration of this satellite collision scenario does not affect the current impact probability estimate for Apophis, which remains at 1 in 45,000.