Uh-Oh: NASA Satellite Crashing To Earth This Week, Odds Of Hitting Somebody '1 in 3,200'

September 19, 2011


According to NASA scientists, the now-defunct Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) will be reentering earth's atmosphere this Friday and, possibly, "hurting someone". Like, bad. Deadly hurt. On a scale from 1 to 10 of ways I want to die, getting hit with a piece of a satellite is like a 2. Wrestling a shark for a mermaid's honor? That's like an 8. Dammit Jaws, I know you didn't just call my Ariel a f***ing dugong.

The satellite's current orbit is 155 by 174 miles (250 by 280 kilometers), with an inclination of 57 degrees, said NASA. That means the satellite would have to descend into the atmosphere somewhere between 57 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south.

NASA estimated that the debris footprint would stretch about 500 miles.

According to the calculations made by the NASA scientists, the satellite will break into 26 pieces as it gets closer to earth. The chances of it hurting someone anywhere on the planet are 1 in 3,200.

Granted there's entirely too much speculation involved to assume the 1 in 3,200 odds are anything but an incredibly uneducated (stay in school kids) guess, but still -- I stood worse odds of winning $200 on a scratch-off ticket over the weekend, but you know what? I did. Does this mean I'm gonna get hit with a satellite and die on Friday? Hell no, I'm gonna be in my apartment building's basement hiding in a dryer!

Pieces of Defunct NASA Satellite May Hit Earth This Week [ibtimes] (international business, NOT irritable bowel -- I was confused too)

Thanks to bb, who agrees getting hit with a piece of flaming satellite is a day ruiner. Unless you don't die and can sue NASA for the moon or something. Now that -- that would be pretty cool.

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