Massive Bus-Size Satellite Is Crashing to Earth This Week

satellite earthWhere will it hit?If you live anywhere in this hemisphere between freezing Newfoundland, Canada and the tip of Patagonia in Argentina, then we need to have a talk about this giant piece of space debris that's going to crash to Earth this Thursday. Or Friday. Or ... like this weekend maybe? It's TBD -- NASA's not really sure. You see, when defunct satellites the size of school buses that weigh 6.5 tons fall out of orbit and succumb to our planet's gravitational pull, it's kinda hard to pinpoint when exactly the fiery mass is going to hit the ground. But scientists have narrowed the window down to a few days this week, so we should all be on the lookout starting now, just to be safe.

Because I don't want to be the one crushed to death by a burning bus-size satellite, do you?

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Since there's still so little info about where the satellite is going to land -- anywhere from Canada to the tip of South America is kiiiinda a big space -- odds are it will miss me in NYC by thousands of miles, but still. When the biggest piece of space junk to hit Earth in 30 years is on its way, you pay attention.

Specifically, we're on the lookout for is NASA's Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), which was launched in 1991. By 2005, its mission was completed, and for the last six years, it's been chilling up in space, just waiting to fall back to Earth. During its re-entry, UARS will burst into flames and break into about 100 pieces (26 of which will survive re-entry and hit Earth). It will create a fantastic light show that will be visible even during the day. The pieces will all come down within 500 miles of each other, and experts say there's only a one in 3,200 chance that any of the pieces will hit a person.

But if you should be so lucky as to find a piece of the flaming satellite once it's hit the ground, experts suggest that you not touch it (yeah, right!) and call the police (mmhmm, sure we will).

If the UARS does hit land (and doesn't fall in the ocean), we'll probably get some frantic calls to 911 warning about an alien invasion as the blazing debris is mistaken for E.T. warships. Those will be fun, right?

NASA will have more data about when and where UARS will crash into Earth as the hours go by, but keep an eye out for massive fireballs raining down from the sky, OK? Safety first.

What do you think?

 

Photo via NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

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