Space junk to hit earth

Published on September 23rd, 2011
Space junk to hit earth

It’s inevitable – what goes up, must eventually come down. Just ask my hair… But this story isn’t about hair, it’s about a 20-year-old, six ton satellite making its way to the earth.

The satellite poses a one-in-3 200 risk of hitting one of the seven billion people on the planet, but experts admit they will not know much more until the final 20 or so minutes before it lands, with a predicted re-entry date of Friday, September 23, give or take a day.

Right now, the guys over at NASA cannot predict where the debris will land, but they can say the chunks will include titanium fuel tanks, beryllium housing and stainless steel batteries and wheel rims. The surviving parts may weigh as little as one kilogram or as much as 158kg.

Be rest assured that it will not fall at the same high speed it is travelling in space, and will not explode on impact because there is no fuel in it. Imagine dropping something from an airplane…

Tip for the weekend: don’t leave home without your metal-plated umbrellas.