So Where Did Satellite Land? NASA May Never Know
Need more exact data to pinpoint where UARS and debris hit the Earth
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2011 5:53 AM CDT
In this image provided by NASA this is the STS-48 onboard photo of the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) during deployment, from the shuttle in September 1991.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – NASA's just-crashed UARS satellite may have been the size of a bus and weighed 6 tons, but, because of its speed and uncertainty about the exact time it hit the Earth, scientists say they don't know exactly where their space junk crashed, reports the Chicago Tribune. "We may never know," said NASA's chief orbital debris scientist.

NASA is pretty sure it is in the Pacific Ocean, but is hoping to get more data from the Joint Space Operations Center at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base to help it determine where the satellite landed more precisely; it is thought to have broken up into 26 pieces as it re-entered the atmosphere. But NASA researchers say that if the data are off by even a few minutes, pieces of the satellite may have landed in northwestern North America.