by Staff Writers
Berlin (AFP) Oct 12, 2011
A German satellite around the size of a car is speeding towards Earth, officials said Wednesday, due to re-enter the atmosphere later this month but with little idea where fragments could land.
The x-ray observatory, named ROSAT, is expected to return to Earth between October 20 and 25, travelling at a speed of around 28,000 kilometres (17,000 miles) per hour, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) said in a statement.
"The latest studies reveal that it is possible that up to 30 individual pieces weighing a total of 1.6 tonnes may reach the surface of the Earth," the DLR said in a statement on its website.
"The time and location of re-entry cannot be predicted precisely," added the agency, citing fluctuations in solar activity for the uncertainty.
The satellite could re-enter the atmosphere three days before or after this range, the DLR said, stressing there was very little danger to humans.
Last month, a bus-sized US satellite that hurtled unpredictably toward Earth crossed over Africa and the northern Atlantic before plunging into the Pacific Ocean off California, NASA said.
There were no sightings or reliable accounts of damage as the six-tonne Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) fell from the sky.
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
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A Race To Space Waste
Paris, France (SPX) Oct 07, 2011
The Space race has managed a significant achievement. In 50 years, humanity has sent tons of waste from Earth to space. "The ocean above" as Victor Hugo called it is a victim of industrial pollution of a new genre, striking, proliferating and long lasting it is of the same nature as the pollution of our worldly ocean riddled with plastic polystyrene and hydrocarbon waste however space waste is m ... read more
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