European Satellite Falling Back To Earth
The European Space Agency's GOCE satellite is expected to soon enter Earth's atmosphere, but experts aren't sure when or where.By Christian Bryant | November 8, 2013
A 2,000-pound European satellite ran out of fuel and is falling back to Earth, but nobody knows where or when it'll actually re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. I mean, it could hit here.
The European Space Agency launched the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, or GOCE, in 2009 to map Earth's gravitational field. Ironically enough, it's Earth gravity that's pulling it back down.
The New York Times reports this so-called "uncontrolled entry" will break apart into 25-45 pieces with the largest possibly weighing 200 pounds. Since GOCE ran out of propellant last month, it has fallen 2.5 miles a day.