NASA's Satellite Crashes In the Pacific Ocean (Updated)

Illustration for article titled NASAs Satellite Crashes In the Pacific Ocean (Updated)

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite that has been befuddling NASA scientists with its unpredictable reentry path has finally fallen back to Earth. We... just don't know where yet exactly. But you're safe to look up now.


According to NASA, the satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean between 11:23 p.m. and 1:09 a.m. last night, making it likely that it's floating out in open water somewhere. As expected, most of the 20-year-old, 12,500 pound satellite probably burned up upon reentry. The UARS was launched in September 1991 as part of a mission with the just-decommissioned Space Shuttle Discovery. It measured ozone and chemical levels in our atmosphere until 2005, when the Bush administration pulled the plug on it. [NASA via Washington Post]


Update: The Christian Science Monitor reports that debris fell over Okotoks, Canada late last night. No one was hurt. Also, people from Maui all the way out to Florida report having seen the metal debris burn up in the night sky.

Image via NASA

You can keep up with Kwame Opam, the author of this post, on Twitter, Facebook, and occasionally Google+.

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Conspiracy theory here: Why didn't they want us to know where it would land? I think NASA knew exactly where the pieces would land and kept it a secret for the recovery. Because it was a spy satellite. Considering the fact that we can now track every piece of junk in orbit and send probes to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, how on earth can we not plot the course of incoming debris?