A defunct NASA satellite is expected to fall to Earth some time tomorrow afternoon but the US space agency has said it’s not yet clear where the space junk will land.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, was launched in 1991 to measure chemicals in the ozone layer, stratospheric temperature and energy from the sun to help scientists better understand how the Earth’s upper atmosphere contributed to climate changes.
The 10m long, 4.5m wide satellite was decommissioned in 2005 and will likely hit Earth sometime during tomorrow afternoon, Eastern Daylight Time, NASA said.
“The satellite will not be passing over North America during that time period. It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 48 hours,” the agency said in an update issued on Thursday.
“Although the spacecraft will break into pieces during re-entry, not all of it will burn up in the atmosphere. The risk to public safety or property is extremely small, and safety is NASA’s top priority.”
NASA said there have been no confirmed reports of an injury or significant property damage resulting from falling space junk.
“If you find something you think may be a piece of UARS, do not touch it. Contact a local law enforcement official for assistance.”