WARNING: You’re About to Be Hit By a BUS!

Well maybe not a bus…

But you are about to be hit by 6 tons of space junk, formerly known as UARS. The satellite is expected to make impact sometime this weekend. Impact? Yes impact.

Most of the 6 ton flying chunk of expired scientific junk will burn up on re-entry, but according to NASA there will be several pieces that will be large enough to reach the ground. No worries though…they have a 71% chance of hitting water (that is how much of the Earth is covered in H2O if you’re wondering where the statistic came from). Other than that positive piece of news, NASA officials really cannot predict where the debris will land. There is no way to steer the satellite through re-entry, and the exact path can be affected by something as far out there as a solar storm. The debris path is expted to be about 500 miles long, and NASA says they will give more updates as we get closer to re-entry.

Want to know more?

Track it Live Here! (PS. Try the 5 day predictions for paths)

Here is the info you need.

NORAD ID: 21701

What NASA Says About Space Debris and the Risks

The Full Monty if You Want to Calculate Re-Entry

Twitter – @NASA Hashtag: #UARS

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Jeff Ribeira

I was reading about this the other day. Pretty crazy stuff, but according to NASA “During the past 50 years an average of one cataloged, or tracked, piece of debris fell back to Earth each day. No serious injury or significant property damage caused by re-entering debris has been confirmed.”

Here at the office we were wondering if insurance (life, home, car, or otherwise) would even cover satellite damage? In any case, here’s to hoping it doesn’t come to that and it indeed lands in the ocean, or in the Siberian wilderness somewhere. Thanks for the resources!

Chelsea L. Booth

As far as I know, a satelite is the property of whatever government/organization/etc. put it into space. They would be liable for any damages if it hits someone or something.

Robert Martin

From what I heard on NPR Chelsea is right about who is responsible for the satellite. Who ever sent is up is responsible for it and any damage caused if it comes down.

Mark Hammer

It’d be handy if the debris came equipped with slide-whistle sound effects, so you could know to step out of the way, should it be necessary.

On a more serious note, though, sometimes I think the next major development in space aeronautics will be the development of technology that can safely and effectively gather some of the space junk floating around up there; the tens of thousands of pieces that DON’T fall down and burn up during re-entry.

That’s the stuff that makes my son’s socks left by the couch in the living room not so bad by comparison.