Falling NASA objects! September 20, 2011

“With a massive dead NASA satellite due to plunge back to Earth this week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is laying the groundwork for a fast response in case the 6 1/2-ton spacecraft falls over American soil.
The defunct spacecraft, called the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), is projected to make and uncontrolled, fiery fall on Sept. 23, plus or minus a day, according to NASA. Odds are that nobody will be beaned by any remaining chunks of the nearly $750 million spacecraft, with NASA experts forecasting a remote 1-in-3,200 chance of a possible injury from the satellite’s debris.
But re-entry specialists do expect about 26 different components from UARS to survive the plunge — a total leftover mass of 1,170 pounds (532 kilograms) – components made of titanium, aluminum, steel and beryllium.
It is impossible to pinpoint just where UARS satellite debris will fall. With Earth being three-fourths oceans, the odds of a harmless splashdown are good. But NASA estimates the debris footprint will be about 500 miles (804 kilometers) long.”
The word from NASA is direct: “If you find something you think may be a piece of UARS, do not touch it. Contact a local law enforcement official for assistance.”

 

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