September 13, 2011 By Jessica Mulholland
During the last week of this month, a defunct satellite is poised to fall back to Earth, according to NASA officials.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is an old NASA climate probe that was decommissioned in 2005, and it has been slowly losing altitude since. In just a few weeks, the 6 1/2-ton satellite will make its uncontrolled “death plunge” through Earth's atmosphere.
Scientists say that the bulk of UARS' will burn up during re-entry, but some pieces will likely survive. NASA says these will pose little risk to civilians on the ground, though there is a chance the debris could impact a populated area.
Shown above is an artist’s rendering of the UARS satellite in space.
Image courtesy of NASA.
You may use or reference this story with attribution and a link to