The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

So, the sky did not fall on our heads …

So, the dead NASA satellite has finally reached earth, though, when I last checked, no one knows where it came down, though there is speculation that it splashed down into the Pacific..

Well, the sky did not fall on our heads, something that Asterix’s Gauls always feared.

It was interesting to read, during recent days, about this coming down, and there was the usual speculation about its likely destination, and the potential risk of damage and injury. Of course, there was always the reassurance, if one can term it such, that chances of it hitting oneself was infinitesimal.

At least 26 pieces, the largest at about 130 kg, had been expected to survive the plunge and land along a path 500 miles long. NASA had forecast a 1-in-3,200 risk that debris from the satellite could injure someone, and the risk for any individual was one in several trillion.

People love the hype, though, and I recall what happened when the Skylab space station crashed into earth in 1979 – the buzz then was even greater. Of course, Skylab was much larger, and people threw parties, and bought Skylab helmets that had antennas that would warn you about a piece of the station landing on your head a few microseconds before it happened. All in good fun.

And, then, when a piece of the debris fell in Western Australia, local authorities fined NASA $ 400 for littering.

This time, of course, it was not same, though some, particularly in North America were concerned. The chances of a piece of the satellite falling on you were greater than winning the lottery, they reasoned.

Viewed that way, it makes sense. But, nothing noteworthy finally happened.

Anticlimactic? Perhaps, so. But, it gave the media something to speculate about, and viewers and readers something to chat about.

Now that it has all ended as a damp (literally, in all probability) squib, life returns to normal.

For, there are other more pressing matters to attend to.



September 25, 2011 - Posted by | About this and that, Human Behavior | , , , , ,

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