Thursday, September 15, 2011

The sky is falling! 08.15.11

*UPDATE: NASA is now saying that they expect UARS to make impact at some point late tonight or early tomorrow morning. While it is impossible to pinpoint its exact crash site now, they estimate it will be somewhere off the coast of the Philippines. For NASA’s information about the UARS mission, visit:

The sky is falling! Well, not exactly. Something in the sky is falling, though. A 13,000-pound research satellite, to be precise. The word from NASA is to keep an eye out for falling debris.

UARS. Image credit:
UARS, or the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, has said its farewells to space and will be returning to Earth. NASA is slightly nervous about the giant research satellite, though, because it will be a true free-fall back to earth. What is more: they have no idea where the pieces that survive re-entry back into earth’s atmosphere will land.

According to NASA, they estimate about 1,000 pounds of the satellite will crash back into Earth, but will probably break up in the atmosphere and descend in a rain of debris that could cover an area about 500 miles in length.

As of right now, they cannot predict where or even when the remains of the satellite should make it back to Earth, but should be able to begin calculating it’s projected landfall about four days before it lands. They estimate it should be “landing” at the end of this month, or in early October. As it becomes closer and closer to Earth, they will attempt to give proper warning about the projected landing area.

According to NASA, no injuries have ever been reported due to re-entering space program equipment, and only minor property damage has ever been reported.

Just the same, we recommend keeping your eyes and ears open just in case UARS decides to land near you.


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