The 6 ton dead satellite that has been plunging towards earth for the past several days has finally landed. NASA scientists cannot yet determine exactly where the satellite crashed, but they did say it was somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Many are wondering where the huge pieces of supersonic debris will turn up?
Most of the satellite was expected to burn during its descent, but NASA predicted 26 large pieces of supersonic debris will survive all the way and hit the earth’s surface. NASA warned the debris could weigh up to 330 pounds a piece, and will stretch along a 500-mile path.
Scientists say the risk of damage is very small. A significant amount of debris does not survive the severe heating which occurs during re-entry. Components which do survive are most likely to fall into the oceans or other bodies of water or onto sparsely populated regions like the Canadian Tundra, the Australian Outback, or Siberia in the Russian Federation.
During the past 50 years an average of one cataloged, or tracked, piece of debris fell back to Earth each day. No serious injury or significant property damage caused by re-entering debris has been confirmed.
From NASA’s website: 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.
The Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite was NASA’s biggest spacecraft to tumble out of orbit, uncontrolled, in 32 years.
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