LOS ANGELES (CBS) — One of NASA’s six-ton satellites is expected to fall to earth later this week.

NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, was launched from a space shuttle in 1991.

The satellite is expected to re-enter earth’s atmosphere sometime Friday afternoon, but scientists are having trouble determining where it’s headed.

“At this point, it’s really too hard to tell,” Michael Duncan of the Vandenburg Air Force Base told CBS2. “When we create these orbits, they’re only accurate to a certain period of time, and when you’re talking about being off by 15 minutes, it can relate to a 5,000- to 7,000 -mile-footprint difference.”

UARS will likely come down into an ocean. NASA says the chance of it hitting a person is 1 in 3,200, far better than winning a lottery, but much more painful.

While the satellite will fall apart upon re-entering earth’s atmosphere, some pieces are expected to be several hundred pounds.

Comments (9)
  1. linda says:

    Didn’t they blow up the last piece of space junk? They can’t do that this time?

  2. YIKES! says:

    Ummmmm . . . 1 in 3200 . . makes me a little uneasy. YIKES!

  3. Johnny says:

    hi all and linda – it seems to me that it’s a shame that we can spend 1.25 TRILLION DOLLARS killing, and “protecting” johnny’s freedom here in the USA, by going to war in iraq and afghanistan, yet we can’t hit a MAN MADE OBJECT that we KNOW IS COMING, AND WHERE, with one of those cool missiles. if i still lived in SoCal, i would be tempted to listen to Space Junk by the band DEVO, and hope for the best… peace. johnny

  4. Muck Fu says:

    You load 16 tons, And what do you get?Another day older, And deeper in debt.

  5. Frank says:

    I hope it lands on a Fullerton cop.

  6. Marrty says:

    So there I was eating my lunch and this satellite came flying by….

  7. Funky fingers productions. says:

    This just in: Space junk hits New Jersey. The Situation has been flattened causing a giant wave of hair gel to flood the shore. Bits of Snookie have been found as far as Secaucus, NJ prompting the CDC to issue a warning for a new wave of venereal disease in low lying areas. Officials warn the public to stop watching MTV shows immediately for fear of increased stupidity. And now to Johnny Rivers for whats ahead in your 7 day forecast.

  8. PatricParamedic says:

    I seem to recall that blood evidence found in O.J.Simpson’s bedroom, matched his dead ex-wife’s DNA to the tune of 1:21,000,000,000.

    So the members of that jury ought to be damned scared about now, considering their own impending chances of being smushed by space-junk, at 1:3,200.

    In the end, it’s the math that kills you.

  9. JohnnyLightning says:

    Hold the phone…I didn’t hear anything about it hitting SoCal in the article. Did I miss something??

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