A European satellite at the end of its mission is expected to fall out of space tonight. The only question is where its charred and twisted remains may fall.
According to European Space Agency predictions, the falling GOCE satellite could to Earth sometime Sunday night (Nov. 10) or early Monday. The gravity-mapping spacecraft ran out of fuel in mid-October and has been falling back to Earth ever since.
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Where will the satellite -- or more accurately, fragments thereof -- hit? Nobody really knows.
An ocean somewhere is the best bet, with unpopulated areas on land also a good possibility. Still, there remains a chance that pieces may hit where people live. The space agency has promised on its website that potential landing spots will be narrowed down as GOCE gets closer to reentry.
That hadn't happened yet as of Saturday afternoon, though anyone can track the satellite via an ESA website.
One good thing is that humans on Earth needn't worry about is remnants of a nuclear powered or similarly fueled object. While that's the case for some other satellites, GOCE had been powered by solar panels and not-your-average lithium-ion battery.