What are the chances of being hit by falling space junk?
In 1997 falling space debris from the Detla II rocket hit Oklahoman Lottie Williams, so getting struck by space junk may not be as unlikely as you would think.
Asked by: Theresa Brooks, Cumbria
There are over 1,400 satellites orbiting over us, plus thousands of pieces of space junk that might survive entry through the Earth’s atmosphere. But the chances of being hit are extremely low.
Most of the Earth is covered by sea, and the majority of land is uninhabited. All told, the European Space Agency puts the lifetime risk of being hit at less than a billion to one.
Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.
Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.
May Half Price Sale
- Save up to 52% when you subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine.
- Risk - free offer! Cancel at any time when you subscribe via Direct Debit.
- FREE UK delivery.
- Stay up to date with the latest developments in the worlds of science and technology.