September 23rd, 2011
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Old sattelite to crash onto earth

NASA satteliteNASA: The remains of an old NASA satellite would be hurled back to earth today. NASA has not yet been able to predict where they will land but has ensured that there was a very remote chance of them hitting anyone.

“The size of the chunk is equivalent to a bus, speeding in at 27000 km/hour, and will break up and burn as soon as it enters our atmosphere. However, even after that, as many as 26 different pieces of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, weighing up to 500 kg, will reach Earth. The debris will stretch along a 500-mile path. We have no way to stop them from hitting Earth.” NASA said.

“It’s the largest space craft of its type to come back to Earth in 30 years,” said Mark Matney of Johnson Space Centre, NASA. In all probability it is believed to land into the Ocean or on an unpopulated area especially because 70 percent of the Earth is covered with water.

“We can’t control how it rotates. If it presents a large, flat profile on its way in, it’ll probably slow down and disintegrate faster. But if it’s tilted so that not too much of its surface is directly exposed, it’ll come in at a really fast clip,” said Matney.

Old spacecraft as big as this fall back to Earth at least once a year. This one cost $750 million, and was sent up 20 years ago.


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