Good news: Another satellite crashing to earth with infinitesimal chance of hitting you
Pull out your calculators and 20-sided die again to protect against imminent disaster. They should be readily accessible from the last time we went through this— a month ago.
Germany’s ROentgen SATellite (ROSAT) X-Ray telescope [will begin a] fiery uncontrolled re-entry to Earth just before Halloween.
“It will not be possible to make any kind of reliable forecast about where the satellite will actually come down until about one or two hours before the fact,” says the European Space Agency’s Heiner Klinkrad, in a statement on the re-entry. “In the final phase, ROSAT will be ‘caught’ by the atmosphere at which point it will not even complete an orbit around the Earth: Instead, it will go into ‘free fall’.”
NASA’s space junk, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, fell to earth in late September, making impact exactly nowhere near where NASA predicted it would fall.
The odds of the German satellite hurting someone are about 1 in 2,000, which makes it more dangerous than the defunct NASA satellite (1 in 3,200 chance).
German scientists have nothing to offer you to put your mind at ease but lip, apparently:
“We are following the satellite closely, yes,” Andreas Schütz of the German Aerospace Center, said in an interview in September. “We followed your satellite coming down,” he added, good-naturedly. “Now you can follow our satellite.”
Imagine that with a German accent and it makes the whole thing seem scarier than a 1-in-2,000 chance of danger.