As we can see in real time on the specialized website Flightradar24, every minute there are around 11,000 aircraft in the air.
According to the report of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG), the 45,091 commercial passenger routes carried out in 2018 almost forty million flights carrying some 4.4 billion passengers, something less than half of the world population.
After the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi (1746-1826) discovered the first asteroid in the early hours of the 19th century, an eternal, unfinished and impossible account began.
While just over 25,000 asteroids had been cataloged by the end of the 20th century, it is estimated that more than a billion still remain to be identified. The eternal accounting has only just begun.
Although meteorites have been a threat that has always been on our heads, we were not aware of its danger until Hollywood remembered it with movies like ‘Meteor’, ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Deep Impact’, somewhat unsuccessful hybrids between catastrophe cinema and science fiction cinema.
In them, the respective headliners – Sean Connery, Bruce Willis and Robert Duvall – battle with other heads, this time nuclear, at a gigantic rock that advances at full speed threatening the total destruction of innocent humanity.
Apocalyptic catastrophes on the sidelines, reality is happily more prosaic.
Every day several hundred tons of matter enter the Earth’s atmosphere, most of them in the form of very small meteoroids that advance at supersonic speed but, due to friction, reach boiling temperatures and vaporize before reaching the ground as an imperceptible powder.
Only the largest retain sufficient speed to reach the surface and to politely leave a crater as a business card.
If it were a square, its surface would be calculated by multiplying the length of the fuselage from nose to tail by the wingspan: about 6,000 m²
Tom Gehrels, a professor at the University of Arizona at Tucson, using the Spacewatch telescope at the Kitt Peak Observatory, detected nearly 20,000 orbital rocks each year, many of them uncatalogued.
There are about 300 million vehicles in the United States.
Each vehicle has an average surface area of 10 m², which means that, placed next to each other tightly, they would cover an area of about 3,000 km², more than a third of the territory of the Community of Madrid.
In July 2016, the global commercial fleet was 19,583 aircraft with more than 100 passengers, according to data from the Airbus Global Market Forecast for 2016-2035 report.
The resulting surface is 117 km², that is, 25.6 times less than the surface occupied by all American vehicles.
There is only one known case of a meteor hitting a car in the United States during the 20th century, so the odds of one of those boulders hitting a plane are ludicrous.
In short, in the event that an airplane is impacted, it would be more likely to happen when parked than in flight , because airplanes spend more time on the ground than flying.