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Six-ton satellite heading to earth

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th September 2011 03:00 AM

A six-ton satellite is heading toward Earth and could crash somewhere into Earth around September 23, according to NASA.

A six-ton satellite is heading toward Earth and could crash somewhere into Earth around September 23, according to NASA.

A six-ton satellite is heading toward Earth and could crash somewhere into Earth around September 23, according to NASA.

Officials of America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration(Nasa) will only know where the satellite will hit two hours before it enters the Earth's atmosphere.

The UARS - short for Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite - has been in orbit since the space shuttle Discovery launched it in 1991, but it's gradually coming closer and closer to the ground as it encounters friction from the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

The chances of anyone getting hit by the UARS satellite are 1 in 3,200, NASA said.NASA says the risk of it hitting someone is however higher than usual and it could land anywhere.

However, the BBC reports most of the satellite will break or burn up on entering the atmosphere.

The "productive science life" of the satellite ended in 2005 when it ran out of fuel, according to NASA's website. That fuel could have been used by the satellite to ditch itself in the Pacific.

The satellite will break into pieces as it crashes toward Earth but not all of it will burn up. Scientists have identified 26 separate components that will likely survive with the debris, spreading out over 400 to 500 miles.

Engineers say 1,200 pounds of metal chunks could make it down to the surface.

Six-ton satellite heading to earth

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