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A 17-year-old A-Level student from a school in Sheffield has found that radiation sensors on the International Space Station were recording incorrect data.

The error was identified as part of the TimPix project, from the Institute for Research in Schools. The project gives students across the UK the chance to look at data from the International Space Station, looking for anomalies and patterns.

Student Miles told BBC Radio 4's World at One that he had found incorrect readings in a spreadsheet derived from radiation sensors:

I went straight to the bottom of the list and I went for the lowest bits of energy there were.

He found negative energy readings, which cannot exist. When nothing hit the detector, a negative reading was recorded.

It's pretty cool. You can tell your friends, I just emailed Nasa and they're looking at the graphs that I've made.

Nasa said they were aware of the error, but believed it was happening once or twice a year, as opposed to the multiple times a day that Miles had found.

Professor Larry Pinksy from the University of Houston told Radio 4:

My colleagues at Nasa thought they had cleaned that up.

He said the correction was "appreciated more so than it being embarrassing."

What were you doing aged 17?


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