(CNN) - A satellite whose orbit is degrading is likely to crash back to Earth on Friday, and 26 pieces have a good chance of surviving the heat of re-entry, NASA said Wednesday.
Despite being pretty sure that the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, will re-enter the atmosphere sometime Friday, U.S. time, Mark Matney of NASA's Orbital Debris team told CNN there is no way to know where it will fall.
Because the satellite travels thousands of miles in a matter of minutes, Matney said, even minutes before re-entry it will be impossible to pinpoint an exact location. On top of that, he said, "part of the problem is the spacecraft is tumbling in unpredictable ways and it is very difficult to very precisely pinpoint where it's coming down even right before the re-entry."
NASA says most of the six-ton spacecraft is made of aluminum, which has a relatively low melting temperature and will burn up on re-entry. But about half a ton of material is likely to make it through.
You can track UARS here.FULL STORY