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Satellite falling to Earth, but don't panic

(Shanghai Daily)

08:29, September 23, 2011

A 6-ton, 20-year-old US satellite is due to enter the Earth's atmosphere sometime tomorrow morning but the United States will be spared, according to NASA.

The satellite will not be passing over North America during that time, their Friday.

However, it was still too early to predict the exact time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, NASA said.

Nasa said the risk of debris from the UARS, or Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, hitting anyone is just 1 in 3,200 but it could land anywhere between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south of the equator - most of the populated world.

However, much of it will burn up before it reaches the Earth's surface, NASA said.

But scientists say 26 separate pieces could survive re-entry and debris could rain across an area up to 500 kilometers wide.

Nasa said more accurate predictions about where the satellite might land could only be made two hours before re-entry.

"The risk to public safety or property is extremely small, and safety is NASA's top priority," NASA said earlier. "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."

Tang Haiming from Shanghai Astronomical Observatory of Chinese Academy of Sciences said yesterday that there had been no instructions to monitor the satellite.

"The route can be easily influenced by a lot of factors in space. It is very difficult for scientists to predict its route currently," Tang said. "So far no authorities estimate the scattered satellite pieces will hit Shanghai. Local people needn't panic."

Launched in 1991 on a space shuttle mission, the satellite measured upper air chemistry, including monitoring the depleted ozone layer, and gauging the effects of the sun's solar cycle on the atmosphere.


Leave your comment18 comments

  1. Name

xZhwcwNnOhxZvx at 2012-03-11109.230.216.*
So how many variables had been sppitred out of the prediction model? Was the Sun's erratic behaviors not factored in the prediction? Was Geothermal and Geological activity assumed to be static? Was the fact the Solar System is about to enter into a section of the Milky Way that's rich in various cosmic radiation types ranging from Gamma rays to X-ray storms not factored in? Is Asteroid 2004 MN4 s gravity effects on the Earth geology as it passes by in 2029 ignored in this model? Is full out nuclear war between some form of Nation between another or a nuclear terror attack dismissed as a possiblity in their test group?Reply
PD User at 2011-10-1980.83.124.*
Good report, please keep going on.
andy at 2011-09-2585.202.220.*
Great site, great reporting. Keep on going
hmm at 2011-09-24175.181.167.*
seams like Japan did not suffer enough this year
tikay at 2011-09-23216.183.151.*
i think its a lie

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