NASA's 2,450-kg space satellite, launched in 1984, will fall to Earth in the next few days
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) expects the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) to crash to Earth this weekend or early next week. The exact drop site has not yet been determined.
Here's What We Know
The satellite was launched into low-Earth orbit by the Challenger space shuttle in 1984. The mission of ERBS was to study the radiation balance of our planet. Initially NASA wanted to retire the satellite two years after launch, but the spacecraft ended up working until 2005. For more than 17 years, it is gradually declining and very soon will fall to Earth.
According to the space agency, ERBS debris will cause damage on Earth with a 1-in-9,400 probability. Although the agency still does not know exactly where pieces of the apparatus will fall. They are equally likely to hit Asia, Africa, the Middle East or western South/North America.
The satellite has a mass of 2,450 kg, but most of the spacecraft will burn up. NASA expects ERBS to re-enter the atmosphere at 30:40 (EDT) or -1:40 (PDT) ± 17 hours on January 9, which means it may happen tomorrow.