Myth About The Sky

This one we all know from Star Wars. Han Solo showed us he’s a badass pilot by flying the Millennium Falcon through a deadly asteroid belt and making it out the other side despite almost zero chances of survival. That’s impressive…except for the fact that you could also probably do the same thing (if you had a spaceship handy).

One of the main things that movies are bad at when it comes to space is accurately portraying size. And it’s not really their fault. If they were to show things how they really were, they’d just show a black screen with a tiny dot here and there which was meant to be a planet or something. The idea here is that space is big. Really, really, really big. Even if an asteroid belt has millions and millions of asteroids in it, you’d have to be the unluckiest person in the universe to hit one. It’s not impossible, but the chances are astronomical.

Let’s look at our own asteroid belt as an example. It has millions of objects in it; possibly a lot more depending on how small an object can be and still be worth mentioning. The biggest thing in it is Ceres, a former asteroid, now classified as a dwarf planet. It’s around 600 miles (950 km) in diameter. The distance between two objects in the asteroid belt ranges in the hundreds of thousands of miles. Chances of hitting one of them are 1 in 1,000,000,000. So far we’ve sent 11 probes through the belt without incident.


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