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Heads Up: Defunct Satellite to Fall Back to Earth, Unclear Where

The GOCE probe could hit Earth as soon as this weekend
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013

The GOCE satellite in orbit. (ESA /AOES Medialab)

The European Space Agency's Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer - GOCE - has completed its mission and will soon reenter our atmosphere, according to the agency. The only problem? No one can predict exactly where the satellite will fall.

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The GOCE probe, which ESA officials coined the "Ferrari of space" because of its slick design, has been mapping the Earth's gravitational field since its launch in 2009. In late October, the satellite ran out of fuel and has been making a slow descent - falling at a rate of 2.5 miles per day. It's possible the satellite could reach Earth as soon as Sunday, Nov. 10.

When GOCE makes its uncontrolled reentry, scientists predict that as many as 45 pieces of debris could fall to Earth, some weighing as much as 200 pounds, according to RedPlanet.com.

Experts remain unsure exactly where the satellite will fall, though they will be able to better predict a specific course as the moment of reentry nears. A day before reentry, scientists hope to pin the moment of impact to a four- or five-hour window. RedPlanet.com reports that GOCE mission manager Dr. Rune Floberghagen says between 15 and 20 square yards of the planet's surface could be in danger.

So what are the chances it could hit Earth somewhere near people?

Reports Circa:

The Defense Dept. monitors some 16,000 objects in orbit-5% are still functioning. With 70% of Earth covered by water and only a quarter of the planet's landmass inhabited, there's about a 7% chance GOCE will crash near people.


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cctally

Good Bye, Adios, So Long......

November 10 2013 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sulandherb

Our house needs some work......we can add a new roof to that :)

November 09 2013 at 8:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shawndra

Im Selling helmets for $20 a pop 5% discount for seniors over 50 and youngsters under 18 Ohh wow I just figured out why the Obamacare is so important they are expecting some major debree falling from the skies egads !! OK Helmets just went up 10 bucks hey if the insurance people can jack there prices up because we are forced to buy insurance heck so will I LOL

November 09 2013 at 8:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
abourge458

What a shame. That's just about the "purtiest" little thang in space I ever did see.
In the words of the mighty Gomer Pyle.... "Shazam! Golleee gee Sgt Carter, ain't that something else?"

November 09 2013 at 7:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sharon

I didn't see where it was gonna hit? Did I miss something? But yes the Whitehouse would be a good spot, but they would have plenty of time to get the Obamas' underground that they have had built for many years for any and all calamities LOL

November 09 2013 at 7:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
loldsparkey

Is that 7% per cent possibility anywhere around the White House , Congress or the Senate building. If not then how about splitting it up so some goes to H.Reid's and the rest to Pelosi's.

November 09 2013 at 7:36 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to loldsparkey's comment
gvette75

LOL...i'm with you!!

November 09 2013 at 7:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
blondieagent68

7% chance of hitting a populated area? That's a lot better odds than winning the lottery! :/

November 09 2013 at 7:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Brian

i hope it lands on the whitehouse

November 09 2013 at 7:16 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Lloyd

What R U Doing this Sunday?

November 09 2013 at 7:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chrhtc

When Sky Lab came down the news reporters said don't worry the 100 lbs of URANIUM onboard will burn up in the atmosphrer. I laughed so hard I didn't make it to the bathroom. Radioactive material doesn't just burn up, it floats down to make 4 leaf clovers,funny looking fish and even stranger looking people which should be showing up by now.Have you seen anyone lately trying to sell you insurance???

November 09 2013 at 6:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chrhtc's comment
scoutjeanl

chrhtc. Skylab didn't carry uranium, it was completely solar powered. You may be thinking of another satellite that carried Plutonium pellets that came down into the ocean, it's casing was supposedly built to withstand reentry and it was more like a pound if that much.

November 09 2013 at 7:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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