The United States is going to try to shoot down a satellite that never worked.
It’s unclear whether the Navy missile is intended to destroy the satellite because otherwise it might fall on your head, or to get rid of the secrets that might be contained therein.
But let’s go with the first possibility.
Veterans of falling things will remember Skylab, which tumbled to earth after weeks of fretting, hand-wringing, and putting the tops up on our convertibles. It ended up splattering across the Indian Ocean and a small part of Australia.
There are approximately 600,000 pieces of space junk floating around. There is only one person who has ever been hit by falling space debris, in this case a piece of a Delta II rocket. It was a woman in Oklahoma, who was uninjured and was presumed to be looking for a good reason to move anyway.
But let’s get to the numbers. The probability of you being hit by space debris, according to Physics World Magazine, is one in a trillion. UK bookmakers, however, are placing the odds at 20 billion to one. I should point out that odds and probability are not the same thing.
That said, the current odds of life being found on one of Saturn’s moon are 10,000 to 1.
Gen. James Cartwright, who announced the shoot-down effort today, would not say what the odds — or even the probability — are of the missile hitting the satellite.