By: Katie Fehlinger
Watch for falling space junk this Friday! Satellite shrapnel is the latest phenomenon to watch for in the sky.
Yes, you read right.
Weighing in at a hefty 6 tons, the now defunct UARS satellite or Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is expected to fall to the Earth Sept. 23 (that’s this Friday, folks) – give or take a day according to NASA scientists. It’s expected to break into 26 pieces as it approaches the Earth’s surface with the heaviest piece weighing as much 350 pounds! Debris of this kind often burns up in the atmosphere, but not this time around.
The odds of it hitting you? 1 in 3,200. What’s working in our favor? The fact that no one has ever been struck by space junk in the past (thank goodness!) nor have there ever been reports of property damage from such a phenomenon.
On a side note – the UARS satellite has served meteorologists well with valuable information since its launch in 1991, providing wind and temperature data. But perhaps its biggest claim to fame is its role in measuring ozone levels and chemical compounds present in the ozone layer – critical data that has helped scientists understand Earth’s climate.
There may be no skies falling “Chicken Little style” this Friday, but we’ll keep an eye to the clouds!