NASA doesn’t know?
A dead NASA satellite will plummet to Earth on Friday (Sept. 23), and while the U.S. space agency doesn’t know exactly where pieces of the massive spacecraft will hit, one thing is certain: North America is in the clear.
NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, is set to make an uncontrolled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere on Friday. However, it is still too early to tell exactly where the 6.5-ton spacecraft will fall. Scientists will likely have a much better idea of where the debris will land about two hours before the impact, NASA officials said.
Scientists at NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office estimate that at least 26 large pieces of the bus-size satellite will endure the scorching heat of re-entry. Approximately 1,170 pounds (532 kilograms) of material are expected to reach the ground, NASA officials said. Read more at space.com
Russia take care of it!
Russian astronomers have developed an innovative satellite network that would alert people when any space objects are on a collision course with the Earth. Some argue the system isn’t effective and is too expensive. A large asteroid hitting the Earth could mean the worst natural disaster in millions of years – and threaten most forms of life
UARS Update 1 – September 23, 2011
“Today appears to be re-entry day for NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) — a school-bus size spacecraft that will shoot its way into Earth’s atmosphere. NASA, the U.S. military and amateur astronomers have been refining their predictions of the spacecraft’s fall, and are now able to say it won’t come down over North America.” msnbc.msn
UARS Satellite debris updates and footage of UARS Re-Entry (video)
UARS Update 2 – September 23, 2011
Fri, 23 Sep 2011 09:45:08 PM GMT+0700
As of 10:30 a.m. EDT on Sept. 23, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 100 miles by 105 miles (160 km by 170 km). Re-entry is expected late Friday, Sept. 23, or early Saturday, Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time. Solar activity is no longer the major factor in the satellite’s rate of descent. The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent. There is a low probability any debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States, but the possibility cannot be discounted because of this changing rate of descent. It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 12 to 18 hours.
UARS Update 3 – September 24, 2011
Sat, 24 Sep 2011 02:46:42 PM GMT+0700
NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty.