Friday, September 23, 2011

Falling NASA Satellite Plunge Expected Today

NASA's falling atmospheric research satellite now is expected to meet its demise this afternoon or early this evening, but it's still unclear exactly where an estimated 1,200 pounds of surviving debris will land.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite will not be passing over North America during that timeframe.

So no wreckage is expected to land in the U.S., Canada, Mexico or Central America.

The 6.5-on satellite was last reported in a orbit with high and low points of 110 miles and 115 miles, respectively.

Odds of a single person being struck by any of 26 parts expected to survive atmospheric reentry are 1 in 3,200.

Seventy-five percent of Earth is covered by water, so chances are debris will land in an ocean or sea.


Scully said...

respectively generally means "in that order"

Robert Riberia said...

That 1-in-3,200 stat has been erroneously reported as the odds that any particular person will be hit by UARS debris. In actuality, the odds of being struck down by UARS on Friday are about 1 in 21 trillion, since the risk is spread across almost all of Earth’s 6.7 billion inhabitants. For a bit of perspective, you are about 14,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning on Friday than to be struck by UARS.

Rachel said...

Thanks Robert! I've been wondering every time I've read that thinking, "Soooo... does that mean out of everyone on the planet that a pretty big handful of people are gonna get shmucked on the head today?" ;)