A 6.5 ton satellite will plummet to Earth some time in the next few months but it is important not to panic.
It’s an imperfect world. Satellites fall down all the time. Or at least that’s what NASA wants you to believe as the American space agency downplays the imminent descent of UARS – Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite. The 35-foot-long, 13,000 pound satellite was launched by the space shuttle Discovery in 1991 to test the composition of gases in the atmosphere. NASA ended UARS’ operations on Dec. 14, 2005 and the satellite has been idly wandering the heavens for nearly six years. The plummet to Earth was expected after UARS was placed in a degrading orbit, but NASA wasn’t sure when it would actually fall – until today. The satellite will burn up and disintegrate when it enters the atmosphere, but NASA isn’t able to predict exactly where on the globe it will touch down. But again, don’t worry. There’s never been a problem with objects falling from space before.
“The risk to public safety or property is extremely small, and safety is NASA’s top priority. Since the beginning of the Space Age in the late-1950s, there have been no confirmed reports of an injury resulting from re-entering space objects. Nor is there a record of significant property damage resulting from a satellite re-entry,” NASA stated today.
NASA also said that they will be monitoring the skies and will update the public when they have a better idea where it’s going to hit. Not like it really matters, because a 6 ton satellite falling on your head isn’t a problem or anything.
Also, NASA said if you do find a piece of metal or debris that just might be a part of the massive UARS satellite, you should under no circumstances touch the object. Call your local law enforcement precinct and an agent, er, friendly neighborhood police officer will come round to quarantine the area and impound your wife and pets.
But again, there’s nothing to freak out about here. Everything will be fine.
Source: Space Coalition