‘Small’ safety risk as 7-ton satellite falls to Earth this month

small safety risk as 7 ton satellite falls to earth this month uars 1At some point in the next six weeks, a seven-ton satellite will return to Earth… in pieces.

NASA has warned of a “small” safety risk from the free-falling arrival of The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) that’s expected to re-enter our atmosphere now that its mission is complete. Originally launched in September 1991, the weather-studying UARS is expected to break into pieces during re-entry, but not all of it will burn up before hitting the ground.

At this point, the U.S. space agency is uncertain exactly where the UARS is likely to fall, though it estimates that the wreckage will land somewhere between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south of the equator. The debris “footprint” is expected to cover a 500-mile path.

NASA has reiterated that no one should be worried about the satellite’s return, though — as there’s never been an injury or significant property damage from similar events. The agency plans to post weekly updates until the satellite nears the re-entry period, and then daily updates will be the norm.

Anyone who does find a piece of the satellite is warned not to touch it and to contact local authorities… especially if it’s moving and/or has tentacles.

(Okay, that last part of the warning was from us.)