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Don’t look now but the UARS Satellite might be crashing into you!    Just when we thought Global Warming would fry our butts, the Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite crash is looming – probably today or tomorrow.

There’s a  statistic  floating around the interwebs that does not sound right at all to me.  It’s  the chance that somebody on earth will be hurt by the  falling satellite debris.  I think NASA is the source of the  claim that the “risk” to be 1 in 3200.

Note this is 1 in 3200 for ALL HUMANS.  YOUR risk – that is for a single person out of our 7 billion the chance is ridiculously  TRIVIAL.   As always it’s  remarkable anybody even calls this type of even a “danger”.

The real dangers of life, such as you driving a car or, even worse, forgetting to put on your seatbelt, or even worse, biking in a city have millions of time this level of risk.

Still that number seems very high to me given the surface area of earth.   Why wouldn’t a reasonable calculation  go something like below, which would itself be high given that most people are inside buildings, houses, and cars and therefore shielded somewhat.

7 billion people on earth X “injury zone” of a square meter per person (a large estimate)= 7 billion square meters.
Earth’s surface area is about 510 km2 = 510 trillion square meters.
510,000,000,000,000 / 7,000,000,000 = 72,857
Now, I’m not sure I’m taking into account the number of possible events here since it’ll break up into many pieces, but I’d think my meter per person would more than compensate for the size of the total satellite debris field.
That would be another approach – assuming you can pack about 4 people into a square meter,  humans are occupying (literally) about 1 / 300,000 of the earth’s surface at any given time.    Assuming the debris field will
occupy ———— of the surface then you can calculate the chance they will intersect?
Hmmm – this seems to get more complicated the more I try to figure it out …
Might hit TODAY – be sure to wear … new underwear!