However, more precise numbers given by characters with a definite point to prove are less easy to ignore - why would Khan say "15 years" if he could say "16" or "18" or "20"?
The fix Greg Cox
used in To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh
was that Ceti Alpha V's year was 1.2 times as long as an Earth year, so it was 15 local years and 18 standard years.
With the TMP situation, Decker clearly says "over three hundred years ago" so it really can't be any less than that. Unless, as someone upthread has postulated, he was just really lousy with history?
Or just ordinarily lousy with history. Plenty of people don't remember how long ago specific things happened. And one space probe getting lost centuries ago isn't a major historical event like First Contact or the founding of United Earth, just a bit of science-history trivia. You probably remember when Sputnik 1
launched or when Neil Armstrong took one small step, but do you remember when Venera 7
became the first probe to land on Venus?