THE FERRARI OF SPACE IS RACING BACK TO EARTH AFTER A SUCCESSFUL MISSION. PS: HEADS UP!!!
Illustration Credit: ESA /AOES Medialab. CLICK photo to view full size and see links below for real-time updates.
Dubbed the Ferrari of space, the European Space Agency’s Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has run out of its xenon fuel after completing its mission and is now being pulled out of Earth orbit. It should reenter Earth’s atmosphere literally any time between NOW and MONDAY morning.
Reports estimate that as much as 25 percent of the satellite might survive reentry to include pieces up to 200 pounds. Launched in 2009 the GOCE satellite was designed very airplane-like so it could orbit at a very low, 160-140 miles high and nope, nothing went wrong with the mission as an uncontrolled reentry was always the plan. Fear not though, as you are 250,000 times more likely to win the lottery than be struck by a piece of GOCE debris. The Earth’s surface is about 73 percent water (Oceans, lakes, Ice) and even land areas are vastly uninhabited. Of all the land on Earth humans inhabit only about 21 percent of that land with ACTUAL humans, houses etc. taking up about only 1 percent of that (Very rough estimate so don’t quote me here but it’s close).
As of right now ESA states that reentry appears to be likely between 18:30 and 00:00 (24:00 for some of you) UTC and the debris field is likely to run through the south polar region and uninhabited areas of Australia.
ESA GOCE page with UPDATES: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/GOCE/GOCE_completes_its_mission
Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) mission page: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/GOCE
ESA Operations Twitter: https://twitter.com/esaoperations
ESA Earth Observation Twitter: https://twitter.com/ESA_EO