September 21st, 2011
01:05 PM ET

26 pieces of falling satellite likely to survive plunge, NASA says

(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.

Post by:
Filed under: In Space • News
soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. Shoe size converter

    Terrific paintings! That is the type of info that should be shared across the net. Disgrace on Google for not positioning this post higher! Come on over and talk over with my website . Thank you =)

    April 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  2. buy vpn uk

    Magnificent put up, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists of this sector don't notice this. You should proceed your writing. I'm sure, you have a huge readers' base already!|What's Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & help different customers like its aided me. Great job.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  3. Sohwan

    need to know was this piece of debris part of the UARS

    September 28, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  4. Scott

    If one of these pieces destroyed your car or put a hole in your roof, would your insurance pay for it?

    September 27, 2011 at 2:32 am |
  5. Paul

    Ok. Let me throw my little tidbit in here to break up the numerology/creationist/scoobie talk.

    Keraunothnetophobia noun – An abnormal fear of being hit by man-made satellites. Don't 'never say I never taught you nothing' kiddos! Disco!

    September 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  6. Ed Peterson

    numerology for the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite Friday September 23rd, 2011 crash:

    September 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  7. CJ

    You can't keep the pieces of the satellite. You have to turn them over to the authorities. The satellite belongs to the feds. So no ebay sale on the pieces. What a bummer. However they did not say anything about pics and video of the satellite. So I suggest take video and pics of the thing. I know I would like to see them.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  8. nasasux

    anyone who finds a piece should get a million pounds!

    September 21, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  9. milo

    I apologize for engaging this topic when it has nothing to do with the story. I usually stay out of political conversations because no one really listens. They somtimes wait for their turn to talk, try to explain themselves, but in the end people get angry and it all ends up soundin like animal noises... However i read a completely inacurate comment about the history of our economy and since thats kind of my thing, i can't help myself, i have to respond. Roosevelt was one of the greatest presidents this country ever had, the greatest in my opinion, what he did was fix the mess hoover created. After the agriculture crisis hoover got scared and did exactly what the GOP is promising to do he withheld support to americans who needed it he caused an increasing crisis of credit to baloon out of control and the banks fell. We are on that same economic cusp but your government cant freak you out and have start stuffing your matress rather than suppoting your bank. Obama is doing the right thing with the jobs act but its wont acually create many jobs. It'll just keep our over inflated toxic waste dump banks from goin belly up. until elections pass that is and they can maybe one day figure out how to convince the private sector to bring jobs home and the unions to stop stacking up contracts so they can keep a higher pay and fewer jobs within

    September 21, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Jaba

      He had money to spend. ObamaBenLyin has spent ours, and our kids money, and has created unfunded liabilities that cannot ever be financed. Tell us some more about the bad old REPUBS, who wish to control this insane spending.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:06 am |
  10. Paul Felix Schott

    This will be a very close call i pray it is only that. Discovered on December 28, 2005 by Robert McMillan
    of the Spacewatch Program A potentially hazardous Asteroid known as 2005 YU55. This Asteroid some what
    Large 400 meter-sized type – C, will pass by the Earth right between our moon and Earth.
    On November 8, 2011.

    The people on Earth have not seen a Asteroid of this size in advance. One this big Has not impacted Earth
    in over at least 4 thousand years. Most Objects that have a diameters over 45 meters or 147.637 ft
    strike the Earth approximately once every thousand years or so. Lying flat everything for hundreds of miles.
    Like the TUNGUSKA 1908 SIBERIA, RUSSIA CRASH OR Tunguska Explosion. This one did not even hit the Earth with
    its full Impact, it burst high in the air above the ground plowing it apart into many smaller parts. Making
    thousands of very deep holes in the Russian forests. Many of them in dense forest far from any roads or towns.

    One 400 Meters 1,312.3 ft in diameter like this one would if impacted Earth on land would darken all of
    the Earth not for just days but much longer. It would change the weather not seen on Earth in over thousands
    of years a massive climate change to say the least.

    The World and NASA will watch this one very closely.

    The Lord's Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    September 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  11. Spectator

    First, moving satellites can be hit as the Chinese have shown. Why don't we pay them to shoot it down-we pay them to do everything else for us? Second, the orbital decay of these satellites is as predictable as sunrise and the tides. So, NASA isn't just incompetent now but was irresponsible then, when they launched this satellite. Knowing the satellites are coming down, why don't they include an explosive charge that will in a timely fashion destroy the satellite. As I grew up with the space program in Brevard County, I witnessed the controlled destruction of many out-of-control rockets and this is just the other end of the flight. This negligence alone provides the basis for a world-wide class action lawsuit.

    September 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  12. Rhog

    Thank you j. It amazes me how people who call others stupid can't use English.

    September 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  13. Funny guy

    With your teeth.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  14. Me

    The other day, there was a NASA scientist that was assuring people that the probability of anyone being hit by falling space debree from this satalite was very small. I guess it isn't so small after all...

    September 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  15. SissySpaceSick

    I'll be at the prom. I hope nothing bad happens.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  16. Reason

    correct me if Im wrong – but dont many satellites use nuclear power? Is that just for the deeper space satellites? Still – they launch from earth – so if the rocket explodes during launch – we all glow a brighter shade of green. I hope it lands on my car. I need a new car.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Han the Man

      Only if they are not sticking around earth. The earth orbiting satellites get enough sun that they use solar panels. It is the long range probes that need nuclear power since they get a lot less sunlight out by Jupiter then they do by earth.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  17. #Rotor

    thankfully it will be saterday where I am, when it Friday (US-Time)... So I'm safe....

    September 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  18. Kane

    Has anyone asked if Sarah Palin can see them from her house?

    September 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  19. Ash

    Since I wasn't alive for skylab I did some research...skylab was a controlled but miscalculated re-entry this satelite is NOT controlled and is tumbling into re-entry...there they have no way of predicting when and where it will re-enter. And skylab didn't burn up as fast as they guess is they don't want to guess and be wrong be cause there is more of a margin of error in this case with their being no control over the satelite prior to re-entry.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  20. buddy

    I am going to nothing... Just like the GOP

    September 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  21. Gaddffly

    Interesting, NASA knows how many parts will survive re-entry but don't know where they will land. Just have to wait till they show up on ebay to find out.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • alice


      September 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  22. IndiaRocks

    NASA has become f'king incompetent now-a-days, can't even predict the trajectory of its own satellite. It should take responsibility and provide compensation if any piece of its satellite falls on anybody's head tomorrow. It would be nice if those pieces land over NASA's headquarters.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • deder

      your an idiot

      September 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
      • j.

        Correction, "You're an idiot."

        September 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Spica

      hey Idiot – and just how many people have been struck by re-entering space craft/debris?
      and how many have been struck by an asteroid?

      To date there has only been one recorded incident of a person being hit by human-made space debris. In 1997 an Oklahoma woman named Lottie Williams was hit in the shoulder by a piece of metallic material – confirmed part of a Delta II rocket fuel tank launched in 1996. She was not injured.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  23. Anna

    I wonder what the chances are if i put all my in-laws in one house that it will hit there

    September 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  24. Wobbles

    John Bohner says he will not tax any piece of the satellite that happens to fall in his district, as that would cause loss of jobs.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  25. practicalPete

    They're looking at how to intercept an asteroid on a collision course with Earth and they cant even address a puny little falling satellite. Send up a rocket & blow it into smaller pieces.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bob Jones

      Contrary to your obviously incorrect and oxymoronic name, Nasa can't just "Fire up a rocket" and blow it up. What a simplistic mind you have.

      In order to AIM a rocket well enough to HIT the satellite, NASA needs it's trajectory and needs to be able to PREDICT how the satellite will fall. If it's tumbling uncontrollably, they can't predict it, hence they can't fire a missile at it. Besides.. since when does NASA actually have missiles with warheads in their stock? That the domain of the military.
      Besides.. have you ever tried to hit something (Comparatively) about the size of a baseball (Falling at terminal velocity) with a bullet fired from a gun? No? That's because it's NOT THAT EASY.

      Come on, seriously Pete. Use your brain or it will shrivel on you. But judging from your previous comment, it seems to already be more shrivelled than a raisin.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  26. Han the Man

    If it lands on my house, I am going to be somewhat irritated.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Loulou14

      LOL thanks for that one. ^.^

      September 22, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  27. Zulu

    OMG!!! So its not 2012 its 2011 then.....Its happening...

    September 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • vaughn

      No, it's still 2012 but it will be a solar flare.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  28. sunny

    i will sue nasa if it lands on my property

    September 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • David

      Your suing NASA has upset me so much that I will sue NASA as well for upsetting you so much. This cheapens my enjoyment of life and has adversely impacted my long term outlook on life. I am outraged and demand justice. I will also sue the part makers and the pimple face delivery boy that delivered food to them while they were building it. Come to think of it the school system taught them how to build it so they will be sued to.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
      • alice

        sounds like a fool proof plan........must say

        September 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • deeznuts

      what if it lands on your head?

      September 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
      • Han the Man

        Then I will laugh.

        September 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  29. sunny

    i will sue NASA

    September 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  30. Maxie

    Well, I am not going to panic. Not until Friday, anyway. Then I am going to throw my arms up high into the air and run around in small circles until this is over...the only sane thing to do, of course that goes without saying.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • deder

      zig zags work better. jumping up and down really wont hepl your chances

      September 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
      • Maxie

        OH, gosh...I am not trying to dodge this thing, I just run in circles with my hands raised to the heavens when I am stressed. least the kooks leave me alone.

        September 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  31. Heidi

    The surviving parts are obviously made from duct tape

    September 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Maxie

      That is the most logical thing said on this site..

      September 21, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  32. peter

    What a bunch of cr@p....they say most of it will burn up, but they say........26 pieces will come the h3ll do they know how many pieces will come down......bunch of idiots they don't know RICHARD

    September 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • The Castro

      Considering NASA knows the density and heat tollerance of the materials they would know. They are saying 26 pieces of it are built of material that have the ability to make it through rentry. You act like they don't know what it's built out of.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  33. Rocko

    I'm going to sit on my porch with a shotgun and twelve pack and blow the sh!t out of it as it comes down........Yeeee Hawww mf

    September 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • KueTee

      Rocko, you ROCK!!! I love this idea hahaha!

      September 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • ButWhatIf

      I don't have shotgun, so I'm just going to sit out with a 12 pack and watch the fireworks as they fall through the sky.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  34. martinmunson

    These parts falling out of the sky remind me of that air show crash in Reno. wickedimproper . com

    September 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  35. Regal


    September 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  36. Retspool

    am i the first troll here to blame obama for this?

    September 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Ron

      Sure, and why don't you blame him for retarded brain as well while you're at it.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
      • j.

        Even if that was a complete sentence I'm not sure I understand why you said that.

        September 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  37. Jack 63

    Don't forget to buy satellite impact insurance.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  38. CJ

    Apparently we have a far better chance of getting hit by this, than we do crashing in a airplane, winning the lotto, or I believe some said crashing a car. So it's not good odds. Funny how they are playing this down as no big deal. It is a big deal. There is a three day window not one day window. Montana will have a fly over twice so they are twice as likely than the rest of us of having this thing land in their back yard. The chance that even one person will be struck by a piece of UARS debris is one in 3,200. But keep in mind you have a better chance of being struck by a piece, than winning the lotto, etc.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Jordo

      They were downplaying it BEFORE they said that 26 seperate pieces would survive.......what does that number 26 do to the odds?

      September 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
      • Randy

        The individual odds you actually getting beaned are about 1 to 21.8 trillion [(1/3200) x world population @ about 7 billion). I'll stick to the lottery...

        September 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
      • CJ

        Hard to say piece by piece because it depends on the size of the piece. I would think it would increase your odds because each piece has a 500 mile radius for impact. Plus I scrutinize their logic of it being 26 pieces. It could be 15 the size of motorbikes, or 50/100 the size of pen up to a piece the size of 1 to 3 dinner plates/times 500. maybe they know this because of the structure of the Satt? "shrugs"

        September 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  39. deb

    I survived Skylab – hopefully I'll survive UARS too!

    September 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  40. Kdasi

    Good time to test your bunkers.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  41. ZOD

    To bad Wall St. isn't on that thing lol.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • CJ

      who says they are not?

      September 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  42. supersquirrel

    where is superman or the fantastic 4 when we really need them????

    September 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • lol

      oh no the sky is falling. People will panic over anything. Chances are that it will hit water than anything else as the world is covered in 71% water...

      September 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • Stratmaster

        So you think a 29% chance this thing could hurt someone is low?

        September 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
      • Jordo

        They said the same thing when skylab fell.......but a huge chunk landed in Australia.......luckily noone was hurt that time

        September 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
      • Brainphreak

        That would be true if the parts were falling with the chance of landing ANYWHERE on earth. However since the pieces will be following a specific pattern and line of orbit around the Earth, then the whole idea of what percentage of the Earth is water is not a factor.

        September 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  43. Mike

    Wow, I am always amazed at how people find a way to bash either Bush or Obama regardless of the news topic. Get a life people!

    September 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Freedom

      Forget Bush and Obama...RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT 2012!!

      September 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  44. Alina77

    Is it time to panic?

    September 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Maxie


      September 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • commonsense

        Yes, time to panic....Sarah Palin still has a chance, according to latest polls......

        September 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Han the Man

      It's always a good time to panic.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  45. BullsEye

    Just keep moving. It is much harder for those projectiles to hit you, assuming they are actually aiming at you.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  46. PooDIPIDI

    Collect them all

    September 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • yeltzin

      I,m selling any I find on ebay. boy oh boy im gonna be rich!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • Tony

        All the parts are government property. All those that find and try to keep any will be prosecuted and imprisoned.

        September 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
      • stan

        i hate it when people like Tony tow the company line that nasa puts out. if you find a piece of this thing, it's ABANDONED government property. seize it, and if nasa wants it back demand fair salvage rights. (your average soyouz fuel tank that falls back to earth is worth from 5,000 to maybe 15,000$) while it is true that it IS ultimately owned by the government, that does not mean touching it is a crime, nor does it mean that you can not aquire a lawful salvage interest in it. the key is that you can not conceal your possession of the piece, and if it falls on public land you probably wont have any rights to it.

        September 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
      • Jordo

        Tony's right Stan.......just like with the Challenger, if you find a piece and want to keep it, you have to KEEP it......and keep it a secret! The government will prosecute you.....the dirty bums!

        September 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  47. Scott G

    We can only hope it hits Congress and we have to vote in a brand new one !!!

    September 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • cj

      So what are you really trying to say?

      That you dont thing the secret service, FBI and homeland security are POO?

      September 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  48. Heads up!

    Oh great, and I just washed my car.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Joria

      And I just got my hair did!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
      • Maxie

        Yep, life sucks...

        September 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  49. TYN1

    I hope one big piece falls on George W. Bush's head.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Dan

      it would be even funnier landing on the WhiteHouse's front lawn while Obama is outside chatting away.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • PooDIPIDI

      They would just build another puppet.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Charles Morre

      Still on George Bushs case when Obama openly lies over and over again, has ruined this economy. Unemployment is the highest it's ever been, thousands upon thousands have lost thier homes. Our children and their children will have a unbeliveable debt to bear thanks to him. You are a fool and an idiot to still support this commy muslin who's destroyed our country. Hope you and all your liberal friends pay the greatest price of all for backing this maniac.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
      • bronorb


        September 21, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
      • Ha Ha

        Sir George, believe me in saying that the middle class has been crushed by the past 10 years of government.

        pssst. 80% of that time we were led by Bush. We need an amazing President to clean up his mess!

        September 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • Chris

        Wow, hate much? "Commy Muslim", I'm pretty sure those are 2 totally different things, and in being one - you cannot be the other. Someone tell me if I'm wrong about that, because I'm not sure.

        September 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • jackie

        wow, why don't you just move to another country, preferably third world, get back to us and tell us how you like it there.Maybe then you will appreciate what you have and stop bitching about your ills.

        September 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • Charles

        You are insane. lol Everyone wants to blame one man for millions of mistakes that millions of people have made. Lets face it, Obama didnt do it. You probably had more to do with it than Obama did. Obama is the one with the education and a job. Its all the lazy uneducated people that did this to the country. You are just racist but instead of referring to him as black you are referring him as a "commy muslim" because you think that is a more agreeable term. These cnn comments are ridiculous. I hope Obama gets re elected just to piss off people like you and fox news off for another 4 years. Oh btw do you think Rick Perry will do any better? HA

        September 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
      • Seriously

        In case you forgot you wingnut, in 2008 the economy had crashed already and jobs have been leaving the US for a long long time. To blame Obama for this economy is to show how brainless you are. Where were you when we started wars to spend 2 Billion a week? Why didnt you complain then?

        September 21, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
      • KIRK

        You are stupid if you think our economy is obama fault!!! The ball was rolling downhill BEFORE BUSH WAS GONE!!!!!!!

        September 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
      • Greg

        Awww poor babies can't handle it when all those years of Bashing Bush come back on their savior Obama. If you support Obama you are ANTI AMERICAN and should be removed from this country. You are a loser and ignorant as the what really caused all of this, Bill Clinton's fiscal policy in tandem with the fact that OUR ECONOMY IS A CYCLE. Bunch of ignorant people full of hopes and blind to history or FACT. 2013-2015 will be just like 1893. Go read about the panic of 1893, it's woefully similar to today's situation. None of this is Bush's or Obama's fault. However, Obama IS making it last longer, just like FDR did by implementing policies that extended the Great Depression by about 8 extra years. Learn your history in facts, not what you think you know, what you've been taught in high school or what the biased media tells you. WAKE UP. Americans are so stupid.

        September 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
      • yahmez

        You sir (Charles Morre), are an idiot. Are you going to blame Obama for 20th century space junk? You are another troll derailing the thread. Bush screwed this country for 8 long years, it might take twice that long or more to repair the damage.
        Go post in a forum where your venom is welcome, and ON TOPIC.

        September 23, 2011 at 5:20 am |
    • George

      Why would you want a piece ro fall on the heaed of a private person? You do know he is no longer president, right? Time to evolve, and move on with your life.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
      • Groo

        He's not a private person if my tax dollars are paying for him to have a security detail and a Presidents salary for the rest of his life, or if people still have to call him Mr. President.

        September 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • George

      I one big piece falls on you!

      September 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  50. oops

    Too bad we dismanted star wars over in europe... maybe we could have shot it down...

    September 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • John

      It's coming down either way

      September 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • ColdWar153

      They didn't dismantle Star Wars – they just told you they did.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  51. cj

    On the bright side...

    Maybe a big piece will hit in North Korea setting off a global thermonuclear holocaust.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  52. RB

    Maybe 2012 is a good thing......we have messed up on just about everything.... wasting, killing, abusing, hating, and the greed is pathetic. The end is near and this time it's not funny! Good luck to us all.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • RMK

      Aren't you little miss (mr.) sunshine today.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
      • RB

        True that, it's 100 here today.....

        September 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • PooDIPIDI

      bye bye humans!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • yeltzin

      what a grand era regardless of how we go. we have enjoyed the finest musicians and actors in history, lived in air conditioning and styled around on fossil; fuel. being in my 60s I already had my share and would probably have 20-25 more years at most and have finally realized that the real god is manifesting everything we consider a noun with his atomic self, but allows us volition. Though I regret my selfish past I am blessed to recognize it. There is still time for anyone to change the road they are on.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  53. SmiteFromSpace

    I hope it hits that 'holy' Mosque in Mecca Saudi Arabia

    September 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Marc Benarrous

      thats ok because they hope it hits you.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • PooDIPIDI

      It would be even more wonderful if it drenched someone there in diarrhea, right before they pray.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  54. cj

    Why can't we just send the shuttle up and grab it with the arm, then... oh yeah we don't have a space program any more.

    Well who cares, if anyone gets killed it will most likely be one of the poor masses anyway.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • PaulMc1981


      September 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • stan

      you are much more likely to get hit by lighting than you are likely to be hit by space junk. if we sent the shuttle up to retrieve this thing, it's far more likely that the shuttle would explode killing people, than it is any parts that come down would hit, let alone injure anyone.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • blah

        noooo you are more likely to get hit by space junk – 1 – 3200 chance lightening is 1-1,000,000

        September 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • yeltzin

      this is a job for superman

      September 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  55. kruzerone

    Don't forget to bring in the dog.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Rhog

      Now THAT'S funny! Thanks. I haven't laughed like that in a long time.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Maxie

      Very good advise....

      September 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • D-Dog


      September 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  56. Billy

    At least there aren't toilet seats on satellites.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • PooDIPIDI

      But then how do they eat their carne asada and hold it in?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
      • SmiteFromSpace

        Nasa training 101, no mexican food

        September 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • RB

      But it floats right......gravity poop for all too share!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Tanstaafl

      Arrr Arrr, 'Dead Like Me' ref.

      good one !

      September 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Cari

      LOL you must have seen DEad like me lol 🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  57. johnnyb

    On average between 100 and 210 tons of meteors hit the earth each day... how much difference can another few chunks make?? Big deal...

    September 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Mike

      If that's true, I'm that's awesome. I'm guessing not many of them weight 300 pounds though? I mean, a 300 pound meteor impact on land would make a pretty big crater I'd think...

      September 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
      • johnnyb

        Valid point... The vast majority burn up and settle to earth as dust. If a 300 lb. chunk lands in your back yard... you'll have a new hole for a swimming pool!

        September 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
      • stan

        a 300 lb-er isnt going to leave much of a hole. now if it's a 30,000 pound piece, you may need to relocate the vaporized remains of your front door someplace outside of the crater. when a meteorite is 'only' a few hundred pounds or less it comes in at a modest terminal velocity of normally no more than about 200 mph. but when you got a piece of rock that weighs tens of tons, the trip through the atmosphere isnt enough to slow it down, so a large fraction of the speed of the impacting body is retained. meteors you see flash in the sky are normally moving at anywhere from about 15,000 to 80,000 mph. the force of impact is calculated by mass times velocity squared. twice the mass at the same speed equals twice the impact force. twice the speed with the same mass equals four times the impact force. ten times the impact speed with the same mass is one HUNDRED times the impact force. so essentially what happens is 99.9% of all impact events are spectacularly underwhelming it's only when the rare large object falls down that there is anything to be concerned with.

        September 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • ZombieHunter2012

      Because if we don't shoot this thing down now, the terrorists win!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Billy

      Does that much hit the Earth or the Earth's atmosphere? That's a major distinction. If they are defining Earth in a way that includes its atmosphere, then the entire satellite will "hit Earth."

      Dr. Stephen Nelson of Tulane can clear this up for you:

      September 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • cj

      99.9999...% (not sure how far that goes) is dust, the number that reach earth are amazingly few. So by your standards this is still a big deal.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  58. jcwayne

    Perhaps I'll be lucky and a large section of it will fall on me. I'm about ready to chuck it anyhow.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • RB

      Don't let it bring you down it's only shadows burning, find someone who's learning and you will come around.....

      September 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  59. Net BUg

    We were the last one to send last command to the UARS in 2005 🙁

    September 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Net BUg


      September 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  60. Rick

    I didn't read ALL the posts so this may have already been posted. As pointed out most people don't believe they can't figure out where its going to come down ( me included). They now its its weight, the gravitational pull, its current velocity, its predicted increasing of velocity, its general path. So could yes figure out where its going to reenter, and yes its odd shape and rate of decay do to breakup is going to change paths...they could predicated a general path...say "eastern seaboard" or the sahara desert...and I assume a much more accurated area. but if they did and its was a populared area...panic would ensue, or if they did and they were wrong and it hit a populated area they could have warned if they had of been right....i would give a predication if I was them either.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Mike

      I believe they have no idea. It's easy to predict where it will be as long as it stays out of the atmosphere. Once re-entry starts, they probably have no idea what it will do, which is why they don't know where it's gonna hit.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • JMan

      I think you mean "predicted". Predicated and Predicted are two different words of two different meanings.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
      • Cari

        really??? thats all you got out of that whole post?????

        September 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
      • Richard L Smith

        I think he meant prediction.

        September 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • stan

      the problem is not only is the object irregularly sized, the atmosphere of earth at very high altitudes regularly expands and contracts, changing in density. this very very thin section of the atmosphere is whats providing the drag that will bring the satellite down. since we dont know exactly how dense it is, we cant really estimate when it will come back to earth with a high degree of accuracy. keep in mind that this object is moving at something like 17,000 mph, so if it comes down 15 minutes later than they thought it would, thats the difference between landing in the usa, and landing in europe. thats why making a call like 'eastern seaboard' would be very difficult.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • Rick

        Stan I agree completely. That s kind of what I was trying to say..simply put the could give you a general path. (until it hits the atmosphere like Stan said). I still think they could give you a general area, but as Stan pointed out if the time they thinkits going to reenter and the time it does are off...that will change its landing path. Stan was more accurate then , but in the end even if they could give a general area, it would only be a PREDICTION..which can be wrong, especially with all the outside acting forces involved here. Which means...*(see previous comment)

        September 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  61. noteabags

    The good news is there's a 75% chance they will hit water instead of land.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • L

      unfortunately there is no water in texas

      September 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
      • lmew

        Houston we have a problem.

        September 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • ZombieHunter2012

      Where do you get your numbers from? I calculate a 79.8675309 / 3.141592654^11 % chance!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
      • Eric Cartman

        Mmmmm, delicious pie

        September 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  62. Tricia Tanaka

    Headed to the grand opening of Mr. Cluck's chicken!

    September 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Mayhem

      4 8 15 16 23 42...The numbers ar unlucky!!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Locke

      The island will bring us there

      September 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  63. L

    if they ask real nice, perhaps israel or china could shoot it down for them! obviously they can't

    September 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  64. PooDIPIDI

    I will find all the missing pieces and rebuild it for myself! yes YES!

    September 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  65. Mayhem

    "I'm a 6 ton satellite heading straight for your house. With cut-rate home-owners insurance, you'll be paying to rebuild yourself, in what is now a crater. So get Allstate and be better prepared for mayhem like me."

    September 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Humor Fan

      Absolute comedy gold right there...

      September 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
      • R. Goulet


        September 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • thequestioner

      classic – Love it!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • LOLedHard

      I loled hard at that one!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
      • Mayhem

        ....that's what she said

        September 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  66. Hi

    Sounds like a great opportunity to test fire one of our laser guided missiles. You know, practice for the future asteroid. Give the world confidence we can detect, lock-on and destroy a target before it hits.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Mike

      We can't. We don't pretend we can. It's nearly impossible to hit something traveling over 10,000 miles/hour...

      September 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • ecarlson

      We probably could hit it, but all of the pieces would still fall. And hitting it wouldn't be easy, not to mention that it would be provocative.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Eric Cartman

      Bruce Willis can get it

      September 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
      • hehe

        You mean Chuck Norris, right?

        September 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • matt

      where is Chuck Norris when we need him?

      September 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  67. Brian

    Hopefully it will either fall on Jerry Jones or G.W. Bush! Hell 3 pieces and include that piece of shit Rick Perry as well!

    September 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  68. keith

    Interesting that they can't figure out where this will re-enter the atmosphere, yet they've been able to do it multiple times in the today's day and age you would think they could be able to figure this stuff out. We can make a processor chip so small with absolutely amazing computing power, yet we can't tell where a huge piece of man made machine will fall at

    September 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Laurie

      my thoughts exactly! AND, why can't they send something out there to pull it down to a controlled area? Are we supposed to just wait to get hit and killed by these pieces? Geeze!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Shaw Pender

      Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) could figure it out with his "two body theory". Why can't the geniuses in the global space industry with all their supercomputing power, figure out its predicted impact point? What are we paying them billions for?

      September 21, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  69. Batman

    So, they were better at prediciting re-entry over thirty years ago when Skylab came down than they are today? I think they know exactly where it's going, and just don't want to say. I smell conspiracy, just like when they said they went to the moon but actually filmed it in the desert of California. Or, when NASA launched Michael Jackson's body into a parallel orbit with Elvis's.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • bailoutsos

      Right. Capricorn One.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  70. bailoutsos

    If it hits my house, is it covered or would that be an act of God even though Man put it into space?

    September 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  71. bruce willis

    My boys and I will be on the shuttle soon to land on the satellite and blow it up with a nuke.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  72. Hose Head

    Hey, those pieces are valueable. What could you get on EBAY? $3000. each I expect.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Rhog

      Or a federal indictment. Hmmm. Do you feel lucky?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
      • hehe

        finder's keepers.... they obviously aren't very good at putting up their toys...

        September 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • Rhog

        They're ok at putting them up. Keeping them up is another story.

        September 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  73. bill


    September 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Tracy


      September 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  74. Logic

    Fire up the ion cannon...

    September 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  75. N49

    Is it an act of war if this thing hits the Kremlin?

    September 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  76. PurpleKnightin55

    The Insurance Co. needs a prudential Insurance shuttle to patrol the space junk and retreive it .....and throw it towards the sun not earth . We still live here!

    September 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  77. Homeowner

    I can't remember if falling space debris was covered by my homeowners insurance policy....

    September 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Burrdawg

      Stop knocking on wood

      September 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Insurance Girl

      Nope. Sorry homes. If it was a plane, sure.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  78. The Ocean

    I just have a terrible feeling that it's going to hit me.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Domo

      With that attitude I'm sure it will...

      September 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Land


      September 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Sky

      It may hit you but it will go straight through me. Imagine how that will feel! Stop complaining Ocean. Yours is but a shallow divit. Mine will tear apart by this very thing.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
      • Space

        Good riddance!

        September 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  79. Dumb

    Blow it up before it comes down.... or is the settlment cheaper for that 1 in 3200 that will be injured?

    September 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • zethreal

      The problem with blowing it up is that we will create more space debris in "standard" orbits around the earth. We're already at a point where there's a lot of stuff up there & is becoming a nuisance. It's better to bring things down when we're done. that way it'll be out of orbit & not at risk of damaging any other satellites.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  80. BLah

    I hope something lands on my neighbors house!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Molly

      I hope my daughter's new husband is your neighbor

      September 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
      • joran

        Really? You want your son in law dead???

        September 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
      • hehe

        Lol – awesome

        September 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Troy

      Me too!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  81. lchin

    Hey, who wants to play catch?

    September 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  82. birdbum

    It's being tweaked to target the Mexican drug cartel camps. Finally.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  83. charles

    But seriously, a half ton broken up into broken into 26 pieces versus a planet mostly covered in water and how large? The lottery probably has better odds of this stuff finding a target with value.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Brian

      NASA website estimates odds of human casualty at 1 in 3200. It's not likely, but not out of the question...

      September 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
      • Pancakes

        1 in 3200 are very good odds, way better than winning any lottery.

        September 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
      • bdgfn

        Seriously? Have you ever actually looked at the odds of winning a lottery? The latest odds of winning the California Super Lotto was 1 in 18 million. That's the number 18 followed by six zeros. It looks like this: 18,000,000. Compared to 3,200. Which one is bigger?

        September 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
      • xxsevensxx

        1 in 3200 sounds pretty darn likely to me. Pardon me, I have a bunker I need to dig.

        September 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
      • Brad

        No Pancakes the odds are much worse than the lottery. The 1:3200 are odds for ANYONE being hit. If Powerball had only a 1:3200 chance of having a winner, the jackpots would build for years and years rather than weeks. Your individual odds are 1 in 21 trillion of YOU being hit by UARS debris.

        September 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
      • Mike

        1 in 3200 isn't better than someone winning the lottery. It's better odds than YOU winning the lottery, but it isn't a 1 in 3200 chance that YOU will die either, just that SOMEONE will die.

        I bet the odds the SOMEONE will win the lottery is about 50%, compared to 1/3200.

        September 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  84. charles


    September 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  85. Bike 55

    I survived Sky Lab, hope to be as lucky this time

    September 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • JMan

      Did you forget about MIR?

      September 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  86. Lee

    So does this mean if it hits my car and crushes it, Nasa will by me a new car and through in a little extra for pain and suffering? lol

    September 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Lee

      the word is buy not by...sorry

      September 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
      • Lee

        and throw not I am lacking in the proper word department today

        September 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • lmew

      LOL! I love how you corrected yourself twice!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • zeev

      with their current budget, the most you can hope for is a voucher. And if it hits your car on your driveway, the city will make you pay for the clean up.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  87. barackobama

    Oh boy! Just what my ex-wife needs...more ingredients for her meatloaf!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • spacecowboy

      best comment yet (I can relate)

      September 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  88. lmew

    I hope something lands in my backyard!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  89. George

    They are not telling you the truth about this !! It's much bigger than they say and its being tracked right now with a course calculated touch down at precisely 617 Oak St., Landover Maryland.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Maxie

      Damn, not Oak Street....

      September 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  90. Spacissa Ghustue

    Drop it like it's hot.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • hehe


      September 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  91. NASA

    So if one of the debris hit us we're going to get killed or injured badly

    September 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • MikeofLA

      You will be obliterated... so, nothing to worry about.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • GuntherB

      No, if you are hit with space debris, you will be endowed with superpowers. Duh.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  92. Darthlawsuit

    The sky is falling!!! THE END IS NEAR ABANDON ALL HOPE!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • ME

      ... And of course, Party like it's 1999.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm |


  • Elizabeth Landau
  • Sophia Dengo
    Senior Designer