Satellite Medical Insurance! Get your Satellite Medical Insurance NOW!


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!
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About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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6 Responses to Satellite Medical Insurance! Get your Satellite Medical Insurance NOW!

  1. FoolsGold says:

    Even in the middle of the ocean some poor soul in a yacht might get a surprise but really folks there is so much water and much of the land mass is sparsely settled. Meteor showers don’t even kill cattle. Frozen lavatory wastes from airplanes don’t hit people. And I guess one would have to assume it hits in some area where homes don’t have a roof. Even stowaways from aircraft landing gear wells have never hit anyone.
    Falling debris from a NYC construction site or apartment building is more likely.
    Heck, prior to RMS Titanic only four people had died on all North Atlantic steamship voyages from any cause. Your chances of getting killed by a highway safety display falling off a truck are probably greater than of getting killed by an errant satellite that fails to burn completely in the atmospheric re-entry.

    • Yes, exactly right about other falling debris almost surely having many times the risk of satellite debris, not to mention the real risks to life and limb which are common all around us – mostly cars and guns which kill 100-200 people … every day 365 days a year.

      Death stats are often hopelessly misinterpreted / hyped by journalists and media such that they’ll pay attention to highly unlikely events while ignoring common tragedies like health issues in 3rd world which kill in the neighborhood of 3000 people – the toll from the 9/11 attacks – every 4-8 HOURS of EVERY SINGLE DAY!.

  2. FoolsGold says:

    I recall the movie The Girl in the Cafe a sort of May-December story wherein the diplomat at a world hunger conference contrasts cows in Scotland subsidized with eleven thousand pounds with starving women in Africa. Risks and the consequences of our actions are often sorely in need of re-adjustment.

  3. FG along those cow subsidy lines, I sure wish journalists were better at math. Aside from selfishness, I think a key reason we as a society have so much trouble rationally prioritizing funding and taxation is that the discussion points are usually around personalities and the ‘horse races’ of politics rather than the simple mathematical analyses people need to make informed decisions. Thus we have Tea Party ranting about congressional salaries, welfare fraud, and other trivial budget issues rather than DOD expenditures which are so large that modest changes would balance the budget.

    Politicians take advantage of our collective aversion to math by focusing people narrowly on nonsense or trivial issues.

    Of course all that said it is ultimately OUR responsibility to pay attention to important budget items and tax issues. We will fail to do that however as we have ALWAYS failed to do that. Yet another reason I’m looking forward to the day when machines can make these decisions for us.

  4. FoolsGold says:

    Often the trivial issues have been concocted by the lobbyists for those getting the bulk of the budget.
    Recall perhaps how death penalty views are so important in an election yet few governors are really faced with the decision anyway and it has no impact on crime whatsoever.
    The math is supplied by the Press Release prepared by the lobbyist.

    Entrenched special interest groups love having some minor but emotionally laden issue in the news.

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