It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Even if NASA's 6-tonne UARS satellite does not cause any injury or damage when it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere today, there is more space junk headed our way next month. A defunct German space telescope called ROSAT is set to hit the planet at the end of October – and it even is more likely than UARS to cause injury or damage in populated areas.
NASA calculates a 1-in-3200 chance of UARS causing injury or damage. But at the end of October or beginning of November, ROSAT – a 2.4-tonne X-ray telescope built by the German aerospace lab DLR and launched by NASA in 1990 – will re-enter the atmosphere, presenting a 1 in 2000 chance of injury.
"Solar activity causes the atmosphere to expand upwards, causing more braking on space objects. The reason UARS is coming back sooner than expected is a sudden increase in solar activity. Indeed, we expect to see a higher rate of re-entries as we approach the solar maximum in 2013," he says.
a sudden increase in solar activity. Indeed, we expect to see a higher rate of re-entries as we approach the solar maximum in 2013,
It seems likely that UARS will avoid areas inhabited by humans, but the experience will be something of a dress rehearsal for a greater danger coming in November. A German satellite telescope called Rosat is expected to re-enter with much bigger pieces, including a very large lens, still intact.