One in a Billion

Self-portrait, with cameras.I often hear someone remark, “The chances of X happening are one in a million,” where X could be any number of rare events such as winning the lottery. When numbers become as large as a million, it is difficult for my mind to comprehend them-as compared to tangible objects that I can see, touch, and count. A thousand million makes a billion, making that number a thousand times more abstract.

I float in the space station cupola, looking out the seven windows of this faceted transparent jewel, observing the nighttime Earth. There are now seven billion people who call this planet home. It occurred to me that there are only six people who can say the same for space right now. What a privilege it is to be one of those six.

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13 thoughts on “One in a Billion”

  1. We all see dreams, and its a wonderful feeling to see those dreams come true. We can only imagine what amazing experiences you may be having up there. Wish you Luck.

  2. You are an excellent choice to be one of the six in seven billion…your observations are a delight to read. I am sure that many more people read your blog than comment, so keep ’em coming!

  3. It’s nice to see humility from a person who is indeed as lucky as yourself, maybe in the future more of us will be so lucky! My mind wanders everytime i look up at the sky, even more so when the thought of a fellow human looking back down at me crosses my mind..

  4. I used to feel privileged to be one of the 7 billion. Not so much anymore, relatively speaking. Just kidding. God speed sir!

  5. That’s a great observation Don. That does put it perspective of being 1 in a billion. Thanks for the awesome blogs!!

  6. Hi from Canada,

    You Gentlemen are an inspiration to all of us down here. Keep up the good work. If I study and work hard enough, maybe I will be able to accomplish great things one day like you guys.

  7. A poem back to you, in honor of astronauts and national poetry month:

    The sky goes velvet and the stars become bright
    Beacons of wondrous ancient light
    The perfect glowing moon sends luminous love
    And I think of the folks in the heavens above

    I can’t imagine the wonder of living in space
    Of floating miles up from the whole human race
    Do you find new meaning in hope and faith?
    Your wish then, too–the world, a better place?

    I am one in 7 billion who watches the sky
    Will your trajectory pattern result in flyby?
    I fear not the night that brings us the stars,
    While you eagerly anticipate exploration of Mars
    And in the meantime, entertained you have kept me
    With your wit, and your wisdom- and a sweet zucchini. 

    NAMASTE, Spacemen!

  8. It must be really a wonderful sight observing the Earth from space. Someday, I hope that I would be able to see it from a different perspective too.

    I think that you are really fortunate to be able call space home. 🙂

  9. Dear Mr. Don Pettit,

    Our fifth grade class at school has been learning about interviews, so we would now like to ask you some questions:

    1. How do you feel when you’re in the spacecraft going to the international space station that you call home? [Elise]

    2. What requirements did you have to fulfill to go into space? [Andrew]

    3. What games do you play in the space station? [Jason]

    4.How long do you wish to spend your time in your new home in space? [Jonathan]

    5. what is the most beautiful sight from space [whole class]

    Hope you can answer all our questions. Thank you.

    Yours sincerely,

    Senior Class

  10. Hi Don,

    You are really one of the Lucky ones. I wish I could go to the space as well but I know the chances of that is one in a billion. I guess it would be easier to win the lottery.

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