Remember how last week NASA said one of their satellites was falling back to Earth and it had a 1 in 3,200 chance of killing someone? Well, we all escaped, but guess what? There's another satellite set to fall soon, and this time the odds of death by space junk are even higher.
The German Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) has been defunct and floating around in space since 1999, and it's finally coming home. When? Well, for extra fun, this one's drop is even more vaguely timed than the drop of the UARS satellite last week. The German Aerospace Agency predicts ROSAT will fall sometime in "late October or early November," with about a 1 in 2,000 chance of hitting someone. Talk about adding some suspense to this year's Halloween party.
At 2.4 tons, ROSAT is less than half the size of UARS, which landed safely last week in a remote area of the South Pacific, but it's expected to retain about 1.6 tons of its mass on re-entry and break into about 30 pieces. And with those pieces expected to land anywhere from Canada to South America, plenty of people are in the possible kill zone.
Is this going to reach a point where we all have to dig bunkers in the backyard?