The German Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) is doomed to plunge to Earth sometime this Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.
At 2.7 tons, the ROSAT is expected to fall to an unpredictable location. In its final days of orbit this week, images are being captured to keep a close watch on the satellite. Scientists are explaining that the satellite's descending height has made it difficult to locate.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) that fell to Earth last month was easier to spot than the ROSAT. Because of the differences in size, the ROSAT is much harder to pinpoint. Compared with the UARS, which weighed roughly 6.5 tons, the ROSAT is almost one-third the size.
German aerospace officials are unable to determine its final crash landing site, but they anticipate that at least 30 pieces of the satellite will enter the atmosphere. Additionally, another 1.7 tons of space debris will be falling within a 50-mile stretch.
German officials said there is only a 1 in 2,000 chance that the ROSAT's crash will injure people on Earth. They believe it is likely to fall into a body of water as did the UARS.