Your Chances of being Hit by an Asteroid

Asteroid stories circulating the internet have rekindled fears that the Deep Impact plot will play out in real life. Based on NASA projections, there is indeed a chance that such an asteroid will impact Earth this year.

It is 1 in 2,518,072

This number is derived from NASA calculations of the likelihood of a strike by any one of the six substantial Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) whose current course could intersect our planet's the next year. The most likely of the bunch has a 1 in 4,000,000 chance of impacting Earth. In other words, there's a 99.999975% chance the thing will miss the planet, let along you.

What do these numbers mean? Here's some context. Based on National Safety Council data, the chances are less that you will be killed by an asteroid than by the following:

Motor vehicle accident: 1 in 6,539

Exposure to noxious substances: 1 in 12,554

Assault by firearm: 1 in 24,005

Accidental drowning: 1 in 82,777

Exposure to smoke, fire or flames: 1 in 92,745

Exposure to forces of nature (lightning, flood, storms, etc.): 1 in 136,075

Falling out of bed or off other furniture: 1 in 329,819

Choking on food: 1 in 343,179

Air and space transport accidents: 1 in 502,554

Exposure to electric current, radiation, temperature, and pressure: 1 in 705,969

Being bitten, stung or crushed by another person or animal: 1 in 1,841,659

Conclusion: There's not much reason to worry about asteroids. But be careful with your choice of space travel provider.

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