The 20-year-old UARS satellite has dropped out of orbit — as old satellites are wont to do — and is reentering the atmosphere. Too bad NASA can’t pinpoint where — or when — exactly it will land. Could be the middle of the Pacific, could be the middle of Paris — it’s a surprise!
If you have to leave your house on or around September 24th, remember to keep one eye on the skies. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is currently hurtling in at 5m per second and is expected to land somewhere between the 57th latitudes — that’s 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south of the equator — which only covers… most of the world’s populated areas. Shit.
Luckily, most of the satellite is expected to break apart and burn up before it touches terra firma. Unluckily, the UARS still has only a 1 in 3200 chance of striking a populated area — NASA’s normal safety protocols limit that probability to 1 in 10,000. Apparently you are more likely to be killed via falling satellite than you are by a bear wearing a ballerina outfit. [BBC]