Chances of Death From Space Improve
So NASA got something wrong, which is about as surprising as a rocket blowing up on the launch pad.
A thirteen year old German schoolboy, Nico Marquardt, has corrected a NASA-powered calculation concerning the likelihood a future-killing death meteor hitting the earth and wiping out all civilisation, including Starbucks (so admittedly not all bad). NASA (Not Always Screamingly Accurate) thought the chances were 1 in 45 000 – odds I quite like. There are other things I’m statistically more likely to die from, which I can therefore obsess over more realistically, like getting my tongue caught in the door of a closing elevator.
However Marquardt did some calculations, realised NASA had forgot to carry the one (or something like that) and discovered that chances of Oblivion From Space are actually more like 1 in 450. Still pretty good odds but, when talking about the mass extinction of life as we know it, I’m all in favour of the extra zero00000000000s.
Okay, so NASA didn’t forget to carry the one. What was missing from their calculations was the possibility that the meteor would smash into one of Earth’s orbiting satellites as it whooshes past, and change trajectory as a result. I say, if it’s close enough to stop me downloading pictures of kittens to my phone, it’s probably just too close anyway. Load up a rocket full of bombs and get Bruce Willis on that shit.
Better yet, I don’t need to know about this at all. I don’t think there’s anything I can do about a large icy rock hurtling through space except worry. It’s like watching the road from the passenger side of a moving vehicle. You might visually register (see) that the driver is unknowingly about to hoon directly into the path of a planet sized death meteor, but there’s very little you can do about it.
One small comfort – this catastrophe won’t potentially happen until 2036, so we’ll probably all be dead from radiation poisoning anyway. Still, I do have moments of strange galactic vertigo sometimes, as I stare up into the sky and realise how at the mercy of things we really are – as if our world is nothing but a goldfish bowl perched atop a swaying pedestal in the midst of a gathering of wealthy socialites and recreational drug takers. And a death meteor is coming.
I guess I’ll just wait and see if I even make if that far! Lot of elevators standing between me and 2036.
Hungry, hungry elevators.
Not if I eat them first!