Oh joy. Phobos-Grunt, that failed Mars moon soil probe launched in November, is set to re-enter the atmosphere sometime between January 6 and 9 – packed with tonnes of explosive hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide chemical fuel. Oh, and total battery failure has it charted to fall between latitudes 51.4 degrees north and 51.4 degrees south – an area spanning all of Australia (but also Africa, Japan and parts of North America and Western Europe).
Spaceinfo.com.au editor, Jonathan Nally, told news.com.au that the probe is likely to hit water given it covers 70 per cent of the earth. He also says the probe’s lack of heat shields means it should burn up as it enters the atmosphere.