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GOCE Satellite to Crash Land, Scientists Unsure Where

10 Nov 2013, 12:11 pm

 

I’m a huge nerd for all things related to space — so this story caught my eye. Scientists at the European Space Agency are tracking a large satellite that is set to crash into the earth to end its mission. This so-called “Ferrari of Space” (thanks to its sleek design) was built at a cost of $450 million and launched into orbit in 2009 on a mission to map Earth’s gravity. It was only expected to last 2 years, but after getting better gas mileage than expected, its mission spanned four years instead.

The ESA planned from the start to allow the satellite to fall to Earth once it ran out of fuel (which happened back in October), and are not concerned about dangerous debris impacting humans on the surface. Even so, as much as 25% of the spacecraft could survive the descent through the atmosphere, with some pieces weighing as much as 200 lbs.

Worried? Don’t be. The head of the European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office says it’s “250,000 times more probable to win the jackpot in the German Lotto than to get hit by a GOCE fragment.”

… So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Read more here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/11/09/244213231/ferrari-of-space-crashing-back-to-earth-maybe-tomorrow

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/GOCE/GOCE_completes_its_mission

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/08/satellite-falling-earth-goce-european-space-agency_n_4240458.html

Have a great week ahead! And as they say in hockey — watch for flying pucks (or solar panels in this case!) -Meteorologist Miranda Hilgers

 

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