The 6.5 ton falling NASA satellite may hit Earth's atmosphere by early October filling a 500-mile wide range of land in Britain, Europe, northern Canada and southern South America and three oceans with its remains.
Although NASA has said the chances of the wreckages of the defunct satellite falling to the Earth is very remote, yet the space agency officials cautioned that the uncontrolled falling of the debris may cause risk to billions of people.
However, they have also mentioned that in more than 50 years of the space age, no catastrophe has ever been caused by the falling space debris. The satellite once re-enters the atmosphere will be burnt mostly and only 550kg metal might survive and fall on the Earth.
UARS - The 20 Year Old Satellite
The 20-year-old Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is 35 feet long, 15 feet in diameter. This bus-sized satellite, weighing nearly 12,500 pounds, was deployed in 1991 from the shuttle Discovery. Although the satellite was designed to operate only for three years, yet six of its ten instruments are still perfectly.
The $750 million mission studied Earth's atmosphere, ecosystem, winds and temperature and its interactions with the sun. UARS also measured the ozone and chemical compounds of the ozone layer along with the concentration and distribution of gases affecting the ozone layers. With the help of the conclusive evidence that UARS provided, NASA scientists are confident about the presence of chlorine in the atmosphere, which is originated from chlorofluorocarbons and is the root cause of the polar ozone hole.
As per the reports, the satellite was decommissioned in 2005 and was thought to be falling on earth by 2009-2010.
Researchers confirm no hazardous material are left in the satellite, However, they have urged people to not to touch any of the fallen parts.