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British Teenager Rectifies NASA Data Error

First Posted: Mar 24, 2017 04:09 AM EDT
International Space Station
A crew member having a laidback moment aboard the International Space Station.
(Photo : Star Staff/YouTube screenshot)

A schoolboy from U.K. recently found that false data was being recorded by the radiation sensors on the International Space Station (ISS). Miles Soloman, a 17-year-old A-level student from Sheffield’s Tapton School, thought it was pretty cool to email NASA and point out the error.

According to a BBC News report, the American space agency appreciated Soloman’s correction and also invited him to study the problem. "What we got given was a lot of spreadsheets, which is a lot more interesting than it sounds," Soloman said on BBC Radio 4's World at One program. "I went straight to the bottom of the list and I went for the lowest bits of energy there were.”

The schoolboy was a part of the TimPix project from the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS). The project provides the U.K. students with a chance to work on data from the ISS, where they look for patterns and anomalies that might help in further discoveries. Incidentally, the detectors started to record the radiation levels on the space station during British astronaut Tim Peake’s stint on it. However, even NASA experts had failed to notice the exact errors. They thought it was occurring only once or twice a year unlike the multiple times in a day occurrences that Miles Soloman found out.

On his part, Soloman thinks that the whole incident is cool and he can tell his friends about emailing NASA, which in turn is looking at the graphs he has made. Soloman, who also feels that his friends think him to be a nerd -- and might be jealous of him or bored of the details -- has added that he is not trying to prove the American space agency wrong. In fact, he wants to work with them and learn from them.

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