Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Phobos-Grunt: Failed probe falls into the sea

When the first high profile satellite (NASA’s UARS) fell into the sea last year, it was a big news story. An old satellite, out of use, was falling nearer and nearer to an uncontrolled ascent and fall. Nobody knew exactly when or where it would fall, just that it would fall. We were all assured that it would not fall on land. The assurances were made because nearly 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Then another satelitte came down (Germany’s Rosat telescope). Then, this weekend, Phobos-Grunt, a Russian craft designed to fly to Mars, and return Martian rock samples to the Earth. It never made it past the Earth’s atmosphere. All 3 hit the oceans. But at a 70% chance of missing land (or a 30% chance of a hit), a craft is going to come down, and it won’t be in the sea – then we’ll see the statistics about the chances of it hitting populated land.

 

Each century brings with it new dangers – now it looks like one of the 21st century’s will be out of control satelittes, falling to Earth.

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January 15, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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