How safe is traveling through space really?

How clean is the Universe for traveling at very high speeds? Can we presume that when moving at very high speeds, say 10% of the speed of light, there must not be any obstacle, not even the size of a marble, on the path of a spacecraft moving through space?

We are sure that the engineers working in space agencies have a precise answer to this question, but we believe that the following will also help.

The grain velocity of a modern rifle is 1,700 meters per second. Such speed, of course with the appropriate grain material, makes its power deadly. And 10% of the speed of light is not once, but 17 and more times higher than the speed of a gun grain.

Indeed, an aircraft collision with even a small solid body can be fatal to it. Even a small meteorite the size of a marble would pass through the spacecraft at that speed and cause enormous damage, depending on where it hit. After all, you can find pictures online of solar panels damaged after a collision with small debris rushing through space.

However, engineers are not burdened with this problem when designing an aircraft for long journeys. Because the universe is first and foremost an empty space. Almost completely empty.

It is not that there are no solid bodies, on the contrary, their number is huge. Only, these bodies are placed in the space of the universe, which is so big that we cannot even imagine it. No matter how big a space you imagine, it is incomparably bigger and material objects get lost in it. Carr Segan writes in Cosmos:

– If we were randomly placed in the cosmos, the probability of accidentally finding ourselves near a planet would be less than one in a billion trillion.

Such a probability is so small that we cannot think about it with this earthly experience of ours.

Of course, there are more small bodies, fragments the size of marbles, but, on the other hand, such bodies are mostly found around planets and other large bodies. Just as you will find more debris near the shores than in the open ocean.

There were several calculations done for the probability of collisions in the asteroid belt. It is the belt between Mars and Jupiter in which billions of asteroids move. Spacecraft traveling to Jupiter and beyond pass through this belt.

And they don’t care! No one is saying that a collision is impossible, only that it is unlikely.

How unlikely is that? Until the collision of an aircraft with a body with a diameter of 5 or more kilometers, it will happen once in 100 thousand trillion passes through the asteroid belt!

Well, you see, that’s a really low probability.

It is true that this calculation speaks of a collision with large bodies in the asteroid belt, and it is true that in that belt there is a huge number of small and potentially dangerous objects, but this calculation for a collision with a large body still speaks of a convincingly small danger to the aircraft.

And in the deeper wasteland of space, the probability of a collision is drastically reduced.

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