With Satellite Set to Hit, World Uneasy

26 pieces of NASA spacecraft to likely reach Earth tomorrow
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2011 4:11 AM CDT
The Sky Is Falling! World Uneasy About Plunging Satellite
Chunks of the satellite could land anywhere, NASA says.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – The 6.5-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is going to plummet to Earth tomorrow afternoon, and the fact that NASA can't say exactly where is making some people uneasy. Some 26 pieces of the satellite, ranging in size up to a few hundred pounds, are likely to survive re-entry and be strewn over hundreds of miles, although NASA says the odds of one of those chunks hitting any of the world's 7 billion people are only around 3,200-to-1, CNN reports. And take note, fearful Americans: One thing NASA does know is that UARS won't be passing over North America during the period of re-entry.

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In Ireland, bookies are taking bets on where the satellite will land. "My house" is leading by a 2-to-1 margin on an ABC poll of where people think it will crash. Satellite watchers, however, say the threat is being overblown, and that objects the same size fall to Earth nearly every week. "It's business as usual for us here," an official at the Air Force Base tracking the falling satellite tells the Los Angeles Times, adding that he's not sure why this particular piece of space junk is getting so much attention. NASA's latest updates on the falling satellite can be seen here. (Read more NASA stories.)

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