A European space satellite that has been mapping the Earth’s gravitational field is set to crash down to Earth in the coming days, and it could provide a “real treat” for space watchers.
But could GOCE (pronounced “GO-chay”), which is set to make an “uncontrolled entry” into the atmosphere, present a risk to anyone on the ground?
“For the most part, these uncontrolled re-entries are the norm,” Space.com’s Tariq Malik told Yahoo News in a phone interview. “It’s not so much that we’ve been lucky to not get hit by one as it is the planet is so big.”
The European Space Agency does not know exactly when GOCE, short for Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, will crash to Earth, and experts there don't know exactly where it will land. But the general consensus is that it will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere sometime between Friday and Monday.
“It’s rather hard to predict where the spacecraft will re-enter and impact,” the ESA’s Rune Floberghagen told the New York Times.Read More »from GOCE satellite set to crash down to Earth in coming days, but experts aren't sure where it will land