UARS is down, but NASA doesn’t know where

UPDATE: a later statement from NASA below says N. Pacific off the U.S. West coast, teleconference scheduled. See below.

NASA confirms that the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) has entered Earth’s atmosphere and burned/broken up. Some Twitter reports say debris was seen over eastern Canada, but unconfirmed as of this writing. No video or photos of re-entry yet. This just in from Spaceflightnow.com

0720 GMT (3:20 a.m. EDT)

RE-ENTRY CONFIRMED. The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, launched from the shuttle Discovery in 1991 to begin a new era of studying the Earth’s environment from space, has fallen from orbit.

But NASA still doesn’t know exactly when or where the re-entry happened.

“NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The satellite was passing eastward over Canada and Africa as well as vast portions of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans during that period. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty,” the space agency says.

Natural processes caused the large spacecraft’s orbital altitude to gradually lower over time, finally tumbling into the atmosphere today where it burned up. It had spent 7,316 days in space.

NASA expected 26 fragments of the satellite would survive the superhot re-entry and hit the ground, such as titanium fuel tanks, antenna structures and beryllium brackets. The combined mass of the pieces was predicted to be 1,173 pounds (532 kg).

Authorities urge anyone finding the satellite pieces to avoid touching the objects and contact local officials.

====================================================

Twitter went crazy with all sorts of junk and fake reports tonight, I thought this was was the most troubling/amusing:

====================================================

UPDATE: Statement from NASA

NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite entered the atmosphere over the North Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of the United States. The precise re-entry time and location of any debris impacts are still being determined. NASA is not aware of any reports of injury or property damage.

This is your source for official information on the re-entry of UARS. All information posted here has been verified with a government agency or law enforcement.

NASA will conduct a media telecon at 2 p.m. ET to discuss the re-entry. The telecon will be streamed live at www.nasa.gov/newsaudio.

UPDATE2: From the NASA teleconference via spaceflightnow.com

Nick Johnson, chief scientist with NASA’s Orbital Debris Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, says the space agency has received “no credible” reports of observers seeing the UARS re-entry. Officials think the satellite most likely fell into atmosphere over the open Pacific Ocean around 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT) and the surviving debris would have landed in the sea before reaching North America.

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90 Responses to UARS is down, but NASA doesn’t know where

  1. rbateman says:

    Oh for crying out loud. They don’t know where thier own satellite crashed?

  2. Andrew Harding says:

    “NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The satellite was passing eastward over Canada and Africa as well as vast portions of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans during that period. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty,” the space agency says.

    Well that narrows it down a bit!

  3. Mac the Knife says:

    No glowing remnants here, just SE of Seattle! Was kicking back on the deck looking north for the last hour – no, nunca, nada re-entry.

  4. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Yes because NASA only checks if a piece of Ice changes 1m in Antarctica or the Arctic

  5. Patrick Davis says:

    In the years it was in orbit and functional, what did NASA learn about the environment from it?

  6. John Marshall says:

    According to BBC radio news this morning (0600Z) debris has landed near Calgary, Canada, so I hope that Calgary itself was not hit.

    How reliably this report is I do not know.

  7. onion2 says:

    Typical NASA! If they can’t find a satellite what hope have they got of predicting global warming!

    Maybe Al Gore was sitting on the satellite and his mass caused it to plummet to Earth. LOL

  8. John B says:

    “Authorities urge anyone finding the satellite pieces to avoid touching the objects and contact local officials.”

    It is tempting however to pull out the pieces of hot shrapnel on the way to the hospital.

  9. Stephen says:

    Check out the sea ice page and the Drifting “North Pole” Camera.
    Thats not it is it?

  10. Ralph says:

    Nice to know that NASA is looking and planning for the future in their space research – you know, like a massive epoch of 2 decades away – and planning for a controlled reentry.

    Wait ’til the ISS makes an uncontrolled reentry, that will make a splash…

    .

  11. ian middleton says:

    Nasa might like to check Ebay to find where the bits landed up.

  12. Jack Simmons says:

    No, no, no. You all have it wrong.

    NASA knows exactly where it landed.

    Somewhere on Earth.

  13. Rik Gheysens says:

    Update #7: 1:30 pm EDT Sept.21, 2011
    It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 48 hours.
    Update #8: 7 a.m. EDT Sept.22, 2011
    It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 36 hours.
    Update #9: 9:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 22, 2011
    It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 hours.
    Update #10: 10:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 23, 2011
    It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 12 to 18 hours.
    Update #12: 10:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 24, 2011
    The word “prediction” is omitted. The only message is that re-entry is expected between 3:45 a.m. and 4:45 am GMT and that the satellite will then be passing over Canada and Africa, as well as vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
    Update #13: Two hours and 20 minutes later
    Re-entry was expected between 11:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, and 12:45 a.m., Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time (3:45 a.m. to 4:45 a.m. GMT). During that time period, the satellite was passing over Canada and Africa, as well as vast areas of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. NASA is working to confirm the re-entry location and time and will provide an update shortly.
    So, there was not only no prediction of the exact time and place of re-entry. Even hours after re-entry, NASA is looking for the exact location of the re-entry of UARS.

  14. HalfEmpty says:

    Natural processes caused the large spacecraft’s orbital altitude to gradually lower over time,

    Is that what they be calling gravity and friction now? I however, blame Bush.

  15. Kev-in-Uk says:

    I find it quite troubling that they could not track this satellite accurately and consistently. I mean, you would think all available radar tracking would have been used? All that defence budget on tracking ICBM’s and they can’t see a satellite? What is going on?

  16. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Uh-oh, Anthony. With the pointer over the post date, the time “12:36 AM” pops up. I thought you swore off posting after midnight?

    I find this recent AP article (by AP Science Writer and Gorian acolyte Seth Borenstein!) to be very reassuring:

    Some 26 pieces of the satellite – representing 1,200 pounds of heavy metal – were expected to rain down somewhere. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds.

    No more than 300 lbs. Dang, and here I was worried about some small piece at terminal velocity killing someone. Now I can be comforted knowing that no more than a medium-sized skyscraper or high-rise apartment building could get demolished!

  17. Beth Cooper says:

    Phewww…That was a close one!

    “Missed us by that much.”
    ( Memories of ‘Get Smart.’)

  18. Leon Brozyna says:

    With apologies to Mr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow …

    We shot a satellite into the air
    It fell to earth, we knew not where …

  19. p gosselin says:

    Nothing in my backyard this morning. Then again, odds of getting hit are 1-in-22 trillion.

  20. P. Solar says:

    “Natural processes caused the large spacecraft’s orbital altitude to gradually lower over time,”

    Oh, that’s OK then , just so long as it’s natural. Otherwise some il-intentioned person with a dead child may have tried to sue them for criminal negligence.

    The chinese can pinpoint a old satellite and ram it with a rocket while it’s still in orbit. NASA don’t even know which half of the world their satellite has just hit.

    Still waiting for the survivors to phone in to “hand over” scrap.

  21. terry says:

    you tube vid … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OfWgu5jk5g

    [Note - the first few seconds are the highlight if you can call it that ~jove, mod]

  22. Global warming brought down UARS by expanding the atmosphere!

  23. 1DandyTroll says:

    It’s easy to imagine the bureaucrats that fill the space at NASA go, well it’s somewhere around here, arms waving around the toy globe of the planet earth, sickly yellow light flashing from inside in lieu of the green and blue that used to be there back in the day when things worked as they should.

    The rest of the bureaucrowd nodding knowingly, approvingly and someone in the back, might be that former engineering guy still hoping, muttering: FFS those go’damn hippies, it’s all falling apart! Before he breaks down sobbing like a SOB. :p

  24. Robbie says:

    And this is the organisation which should watch incoming meteorites and comets? They don’t even know where their own stuff is in the sky.
    Decommission NASA please!

  25. novareason says:

    “Ralph says:
    September 24, 2011 at 2:37 am

    Nice to know that NASA is looking and planning for the future in their space research – you know, like a massive epoch of 2 decades away – and planning for a controlled reentry.

    Wait ’til the ISS makes an uncontrolled reentry, that will make a splash…”

    Modern spacecraft, satellites, and space stations usually contain methods to allow for controlled de-orbit. UARS was very old, like 20 years older than the oldest Russian pieces of the ISS. While they don’t know HOW their going to de-orbit the American parts of the ISS it yet, since they don’t have a shuttle to help out; they could get the Russians to help them controlled de-orbit into the ocean, or they could actually burn some fuel to send it further up in orbit and therefore “park” it for a few more decades.

  26. George Tetley says:

    And how ?
    P.Gosselin,
    I,000,000,000 in 22,000,000,000 ? I would not bet on that, you must remember that NASA employees James Hansen and he is supposed to be one of the wiz kids
    ( 2 plus 2 makes 4 except when you take away 1, and then you have 5 )
    sarc off

  27. Rik Gheysens says:

    On television of France 2, it is said that NASA has lost track of UARS in the final stage.
    This can be true. I wondered why there were no new data about the hight of the orbit in the Update #13. In this report, NASA copied the data of Update #12: (the orbit of UARS was 85 miles by 90 miles (135 km by 140 km)).
    However, update #13 came two hours and 20 minutes later than update #12.

    If this is true, how long lasted this blackout? One full orbit?

  28. Tony Hansen says:

    I find it hard to believe that James Hansen et al did not correctly and accurately predict/project/swag the EXACT impact point 90 years ago.

  29. Curiousgeorge says:

    Apparently dropped into the ocean. I hope the various sea creatures heed the warning to not touch it. Wouldn’t want some smart squid reverse engineering the thing and subsequently challenging our supremacy on planet Earth. They might rename it Planet Water.

  30. Too Cold says:

    The science of predicting falling space debris appears to be almost identical to the science of predicting AGW.

  31. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    http://www.infosatellites.com/uars-satellite-tracking-norad-21701.html It’s still moving??? Why is Norad still tracking it when its supposed to be down?

  32. Ric Werme says:

    Robbie says:
    September 24, 2011 at 4:31 am

    And this is the organisation which should watch incoming meteorites and comets? They don’t even know where their own stuff is in the sky.
    Decommission NASA please!

    NASA looks out, NASA looks in at wide areas of slowly changing stuff. They aren’t tasked with the job of tracking space junk. Perhaps you should learn what NASA does and then offer justifiable criticism.

    If you really want to find where the satellite burned up, talk to the military. They look for missile launch signatures – small, fast streaks of hot exhaust gases that they have to sort out from meteors. And returning satellites.

  33. golf charley says:

    I think the AGW angle needs further examination.

    The satellite must have been brought down by the expanding atmosphere caused by CO2 emmisions.

    By landing in the sea, it will have raised both sea levels and sea temperatures, hence positive feedbacks!

    Any other suggestions for Joe Romms next article:-)

  34. DJ says:

    Fortunately, the sky was full of CO2 and the fall of the satellite was cushioned. The excessive CO2 also acted as an enveloping fire extinguisher, preventing a devastating inferno similar to when the Van Allen Belt caught fire and Admiral Nelson on the Seaview had to put it out.

    Natural causes are cited for the orbital decay, but I don’t know about that….Invisible Aliens working directly with Big Oil could have conspired to effect its demise because the satellite was monitoring the Ozone Hole, a known landing area for invading spaceships.

    (personally, I think way there’s way too much hype associated with this event. the satellite did its job, we got our money’s worth, it fell out of the sky and isn’t space junk. no known injuries or deaths, … now, back to our regularly scheduled AGW, and thank you Anthony for keeping us up on what’s going on)

  35. Frank Kotler says:

    Once it goes up, who cares where it comes down? “That’s not my department.”, says Werner Von Braun.
    – Tom Lehrer

  36. Satellite X200-219 says:

    A NASA-inspired song: Satellite, Dave Matthews Band. To those eating al fresco tonight, watch out for falling debris

  37. Matthew W says:

    Andrew Harding says:
    September 24, 2011 at 1:12 am

    “NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24. The satellite was passing eastward over Canada and Africa as well as vast portions of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans during that period. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty,” the space agency says.

    Well that narrows it down a bit!
    =============================================================
    Don’t be so harsh!!
    They eliminated 3 oceans and two continents.

  38. John M says:

    golf charley,

    You left one out. Surely, we must take into account the melting glaciers and the impact of that mass redistribution on the orbit.

  39. Eric Gisin says:

    I checked the aero.org map yesterday, and figured it would pass the BC/Alberta border at 21:20 PDT. I went out and watched the skies but saw nothing. CBC is reporting rumours of falling debris east of me: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/09/24/satellite-uars.html

    “A precise location for re-entry was not immediately known. However, there are other reports on Twitter of debris falling over Okotoks, a town south of Calgary.”

  40. Olen says:

    NASA can only predict things that are not happening such as global warming, satellites falling out of the sky are more difficult. This is not fair statement about the true hard working scientists at NASA who do not have the power of the press but it is a fair statement about the direction NASA has taken.

  41. Gee Willikers says:

    Here’s a video of it possible crashing SE of Oklahoma City.
    [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6wW2ChL_-E ]

    REPLY: Sorry, but that is the worst videography I’ve ever seen, and no that’s not it. That’s 5:38 of my life I’ll never get back – Anthony

  42. David Ball says:

    Watched till 3 am. in Calgary. Nada for NASA. Oh well.
    Beth Cooper, I LOVED Get Smart. I was thinking “Sorry about that, Chief”.

  43. Bill Parsons says:

    HalfEmpty says:
    September 24, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Natural processes caused the large spacecraft’s orbital altitude to gradually lower over time,

    Is that what they be calling gravity and friction now? I however, blame Bush.

    Well-l-l, I heard they had a nucular back-up. But it was just enough of a boost to help the satellite clear Texas.

  44. Bill Parsons says:

    NASA informs us in their Q & A that, on average, one chunk of orbital debris falls back to earth every day, but that, to date no one has been hurt. Honest!

    http://orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/photogallery/beehives.html#leo

    And just to prove they’re diligently keeping track, they have an Office of Orbital Debris to answer your each and every question… like, “Do you know where the next stop for this bus-sized satellite is?”

    The NASA Orbital Debris Program Office, located at the Johnson Space Center, is the lead NASA center for orbital debris research. It is recognized world-wide for its initiative in addressing orbital debris issues. The NASA Orbital Debris Program Office has taken the international lead in conducting measurements of the environment and in developing the technical consensus for adopting mitigation measures to protect users of the orbital environment. Work at the Center continues with developing an improved understanding of the orbital debris environment and measures that can be taken to control debris growth.

  45. Douglas DC says:

    NORAD would probably have a better idea…Hmmm…

  46. mrrabbit says:

    I went to sleep at midnight last night tired of waiting for it over the West coast of North America. Couldn’t help but wonder if it is skipping across our atmosphere instead of entering it…

    =8-)

  47. RB says:

    I loved the report on the BBC yesterday.

    NASA say the debris is more likely to fall in the sea than on land.

    FFS.

  48. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    Andres Valencia says:
    September 24, 2011 at 4:25 am
    Global warming brought down UARS by expanding the atmosphere!

    There are a number of references to just that ‘fact’, of course.

    http://nightskyonline.info/?p=2241

  49. niteowl says:

    As far as I know, NASA doesn’t maintain radar tracking stations of its own, and if they do they probably would provide a whole lot of coverage. It may have command and control up-link/down-link sites, but those would only be of any use if the satellite was still talking, which may not be the case for a decommissioned satellite about to re-enter.

    Actual satellite / debris tracking is performed by the USAF Space Surveillance Network, which itself does not provide complete global coverage. If, for example, this thing was last seen over Eastern Canada heading out to sea down towards Africa, it may have maybe been tracked by Cape Cod or Thule, but it wouldn’t have another realistic shot at being seen until it got down towards Ascension Island. The track of its last orbit isn’t very rich in SSN sensors, so I can see where they might not know where it actually went down.

  50. niteowl says:

    &!$@…last post should have said “would NOT provide a whole lot of coverage”

  51. Salviati says:

    I really think you are being too harsh. Once it hits the atmosphere, it’s basically a meteor. Usually the only way those are found is when someone reports the crater. The shuttle was easier to track because they had radio telemetry coming from it until just before breakup. And tumbling debris is very hard to predict; ever play the game where you drop the quarter through the slot into water and try to make it land on a paddle or something? Now, factor in ludicrous-speed lateral motion, and 100 miles of fluid atmosphere, plus the breakup altering the size and drag profile of the object, and +/-6000 miles doesn’t sound too bad at that point.

  52. petermue says:

    RB says:
    September 24, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I loved the report on the BBC yesterday.

    NASA say the debris is more likely to fall in the sea than on land.

    BBC? NASA? “more likely”?
    No more questions, thank you. :-D

  53. petermue says:

    Can’t we encourage any official authority to classify satellite debris as a pollutant?
    Just saying.
    /sarc

  54. johnb says:

    >>Flashback<< Free Tacos for US if MIR hits floating Taco Bell inflatable satellite catcher.

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=4152

    I don't know if any group tried to cash in on this crash but that was one of the greatest publicity stunts ever, in my mind.

  55. Tilo Reber says:

    Okay, here is a detailed report of what happened to the satellite.

  56. pat says:

    Maybe NASA should cut back on Muslim outreach and bogus climate science and get back to some real science. This does not give me great confidence in our missile defense capability.

  57. George E. Smith says:

    Well when people complained about the lousy brakes (re-entry system) of some of those old classic Bugatti race cars; Ettore Bugatti is reported to have said: “I build my cars to go; not to stop.”

    So evidently does NASA. I can’t believe that in 1991, NASA would launch something without a suicide pill bult into it.

  58. George E. Smith says:

    “”””” RB says:

    September 24, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I loved the report on the BBC yesterday.

    NASA say the debris is more likely to fall in the sea than on land.

    FFS. “””””

    I’m not a betting man, but if I was I’d give you 3 to 1 odds on that bet.

  59. Fortunately, NASA can tell us what globull warming is going to do in 50-100 years. But, they can’t forecast nor find their satellite. Great.

  60. rbateman says:

    HalfEmpty says:
    September 24, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Bush would never have allowed an out-of-control space shoe to hit him.
    They should have nominated him for that performance.

  61. Mark T says:

    I mean, you would think all available radar tracking would have been used? All that defence budget on tracking ICBM’s and they can’t see a satellite? What is going on?

    Actually, IIRC ICBMs are tracked from the ground up until they get into orbit, at which point I believe they are ballistic (not under power.) Most radars are then looking for the launch, and algorithms are used to predict where the ballistic trajectory will take them. We don’t regularly have a whole lot of (if any) radar pointing up into the sky, strong enough to detect objects in space – it would be a nightmare to install and maintain, particularly for objects that small. From a signal processing perspective, a radar system that can track a decaying orbital object from orbit to impact is ridiculously complex.

    Mark

  62. DJ says:

    Funny…. I known, physical entity, observable, and everyone focused on it. Yet, with all the computational horsepower and known physical characteristics, proven tracking formulas, NASA doesn’t know where it is.

    Yet… NASA has the ability to predict climate 50 years out based on variables we know very little about.

    Thinking “Tipping Point” is the great name for a bar down the street from Hansen’s office. Hence, “We’ve reached the Tipping Point…”. What we never hear is the rest of the sentence…. “We’ve reached the Tipping Point, and I’ll have a Maker’s Mark, neat.”

  63. Gary Hladik says:

    Looks like it missed Washington, DC.

    Better luck next time.

  64. Chuck Nolan says:

    SRB says:
    September 24, 2011 at 8:46 am
    I loved the report on the BBC yesterday.

    NASA say the debris is more likely to fall in the sea than on land.

    FFS.
    ————————
    My math says about 3:1 for ocean

  65. Schitzree says:

    Ric Werme says:
    September 24, 2011 at 6:14 am
    NASA looks out, NASA looks in at wide areas of slowly changing stuff. They aren’t tasked with the job of tracking space junk. Perhaps you should learn what NASA does and then offer justifiable criticism.

    If you really want to find where the satellite burned up, talk to the military. They look for missile launch signatures – small, fast streaks of hot exhaust gases that they have to sort out from meteors. And returning satellites.

    Ric, that’s like saying it isn’t a cops job to keep track of his patrol car or side arm, because it’s not in his job description.

  66. Mark T says:

    Funny…. I known, physical entity, observable, and everyone focused on it. Yet, with all the computational horsepower and known physical characteristics, proven tracking formulas, NASA doesn’t know where it is.

    Because you have an arbitrarily shaped object that hits the atmosphere at 18,000 mph with an arbitrary position and immediately begins to break up in an arbitrary manner that we can’t really compute. There’s so many unknowns that it would have been impossible to tell other than “it will enter the upper portion of the atmosphere approximately here.”

    Mark

  67. ShrNfr says:

    So Hansen and NASA GISS can model an extremely complex system with absolute certainty for decades into the future, but NASA cannot model an atmospheric effect on a known object for a period of 12 hours. Astounding that man Hansen.

  68. pwl says:

    Canada again. What are we a friendly target or what? Looks like Alberta near Calgary. Let’s see 26+ counts of littering.

    There’s a video supposedly showing the pieces of the satellite reentering over Alberta.

    Last night there was a report of long streaks on the Environment Canada Radar in the Calgary area. I captured an image and posted a brief article here:

    http://pathstoknowledge.net/2011/09/24/canada-hit-by-nasa-satellite-nasa-to-be-hit-by-littering-bill-from-canada

  69. Ed Dahlgren says:

    No, NASA wouldn’t need to track debris reentry because, as others pointed out, there are people at NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) whose duties include that specifically. Or at least, there were. My knowledge is many, many years old.

    Anyway, NORAD would probably share the info with NASA if they were asked politely.

  70. Ric Werme says:

    Schitzree says:
    September 24, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Ric Werme says:
    September 24, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Ric, that’s like saying it isn’t a cops job to keep track of his patrol car or side arm, because it’s not in his job description.

    How many cops track the patrol cars that were retired from service 10-15 years ago?

    If the satellite were still operational, then they’d likely be able to track it through a TDRS satellite until Loss of Signal and that would be a decent indicator of reentry.

    I have no idea if UARS used TDRS, but with the high inclination, there’d be good reasons to have it talk via TDRS.

  71. Roger Knights says:

    rbateman says:
    September 24, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Oh for crying out loud. They don’t know where thier own satellite crashed?

    All systems are goo.

  72. John M says:

    Lead headline on my Google New Homepage just now:

    Dead satellite likely fell into Pacific Ocean–maybe
    CNET – ‎20 minutes ago‎

    Somehow seems IPCC-esque

    Interesting how the media jump all over NASA with this kind of thing but swallow everything they say regarding climate.

  73. nimbunje says:

    I,m pretty sick of Russia , the U.S.A. and China dropping all their spent crap in the S.W. Pacific . Poor “Bloop-_ what about it’s environment ,all this space poop falling from a great height on it , talk about “Rods from God” or “Gods crap” .But in all seriousness if Norad couldn’t pick this satellite upon re-entry, it bodes badly for the U.S.A. and their much vaunted missile launch detection and tracking systems .The back door for attack would be bloody obvious to any other antagonists .

  74. Pascvaks says:

    Can’t Resist – (SarcOn) – There should be a long streak of CO2 from the time it, and it’s pieces, started burning and all the way to impact. This tell-tale evidence should be available to anyone of a number of UN, IPCC, NASA, DOD, EPA, NOAA, CIA, FBI, ESA, CSA, RSA, and other agencies around the world. Once the President of the World CO2 and Hot Air Society, Al “Fat Albert” Gore, approves the release of this information, detailed data of incalcuable value will be released via select and member “GREEN” MSM outlets around the world. The increased cost of this information will go toward offsetting the vast expense of eliminating these poisonous gases from the earth’s atmosphere over the next 374 years. More information will be released to select members as it becomes available. (SarcOff)

    Like I said, couldn’t resist. Wonder who will publish the first of many historic Scientific Papers on this great human fiasco?

  75. Bernie McCune says:

    An odd report on ABC (American BC) that UARS landed near Africa seems unlikely. I listened to the NASA phone conference at 2pm EST today which is well worth a listen (probably now up on the web somewhere or at 866-516-0666 both may be clogged for awhile). From a quite detailed discussion of likely scenarios during this phone conference the UARS probably de-orbitted in the Pacific somewhere near the last JSpOC prediction point at sometime around 0416Z Sept 24. The predicted point was 31N and (219E?) which I think is actually near 140W which is about 1350 miles due west of Tijuana, Mexico (about half way between LA and Hawaii). This is likely because no one in the Pacific NW was able to “see” the next pass over that area (ie- it went down before reaching Seattle). Since no one yet has made noises of seeing flaming debris over head in the NW we can probably assume that the large chunks went into the drink before that deadline. I believe the prediction was probably good to +/- 10 minutes because the NASA fellow on the broadcast indicated that by +10 minutes the footprint would start to be over land in Canada.

    NASA does not do orbital predictions or monitoring. DoD and specifically JSpOC (AF Joint Space Operations Center – Vandenburg) and Spasur (Space Surveillance Network) do this. I suspect they know where every piece of junk hardball size and bigger is. I also suspect they will not be telling us much about that capability anytime soon. NASA works very closely with them on a regular basis. Stuff falls out of the sky daily and big stuff falls out weekly. NASA said that this is the first very large NASA item to come out in the last 30 years.

    We should know more soon. But if it all did go into the drink and no ships or airlines saw it, we may not really ever know.

    Bernie

  76. polistra says:

    Silliest media response yet. Some reader video’d a jet plane and sent it in to the UK Telegraph claiming it was a satellite trail. The Telegraph believed it.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8786789/Nasa-satellite-possibly-sighted-as-it-fell-to-earth.html

  77. petermue says:

    As a layman in this field, may I ask why we should a) avoid touching the parts, and b) what makes them so immense precious to account for raising a worldwide hell and all the money spent to collect those burnt out and torn objects?
    It’s really a mystery for me.

  78. RB says:

    SRB says:
    September 24, 2011 at 8:46 am
    I loved the report on the BBC yesterday.

    NASA say the debris is more likely to fall in the sea than on land.

    FFS.
    ————————
    My math says about 3:1 for ocean

    Exactly my point. As if the MSM needs to “report” that NASA, in its wisdom, announces that there is more sea than land.

  79. H.R. says:

    I didn’t get any space junk but we did have a hot air balloon land in the back yard a couple of hours ago.

    That doesn’t happen every day.

  80. Ian says:

    Suspect is hatless….repeat hatless ( anyone who watches the simpsons will know what I mean….)

  81. pwl says:

    New video allegedly of the UARS satellite by French photographer/astronomer Thierry Legault.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7382163n&tag=pop;videos

  82. Red Jeff says:

    Truth be told, and we confront it when, tragedy occurs in space, scientists predict 100 years into the future, we realise, we just don’t know. We blame NASA when they don’t know but we are no different than believers of climo-apocalypse. We believe that THEY know and that’s good enough to lay blame.

    NASA can target a satellite within 80 miles of it’s target a billion miles away. If anyone want’s to show their expertise in a time of shrinking budgets it would be NASA. They’ve done their best and like advancements since UARS was launched, with technological innovation when it becomes available, they will improve. We can’t mandate those advances by an act of congress or parliament, but, we can welcome them once they arrive.

    In the future we will look back at this, as those before us look at Skylab, smile, shake our heads and say ‘remember when…’ realising that need is the spur of innovation.

  83. pwl says:

    “This video of UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) has been taken from Northern France (Dunkerque) on September 15th 2011 between 04:42:14 and 04:44:02 UTC. Distance to observer: 316 km. Altitude of the satellite: 252 km. Angular speed at culmination: 1.36°/s. The speed of the sequence is accelerated two times with regard to real time (20 fps vs 10 fps). The satellite is tumbling, perhaps because of a collision with satellite debris a few years ago. ”

    http://legault.perso.sfr.fr/uars_110915.html

  84. Ric Werme says:

    petermue says:
    September 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    As a layman in this field, may I ask why we should a) avoid touching the parts, and b) what makes them so immense precious to account for raising a worldwide hell and all the money spent to collect those burnt out and torn objects?

    The most charitable reason I can think of is that by trying to make everyone think it’s dangerous it will keep people away from other satellites with really dangerous stuff, e.g. RTGs or hydrazine fuel tanks. We dropped a RTG on Canada in 1978. I suspect the diplomatic traffic may not have been very diplomatic that day.

    Next is that they may not want certain alloys, optics, and other items of tactical value from falling into bad hands (whoever is playing the USSR role at the moment).

    Last is that homeless ETs moved in for a while and believe me, you don’t want to touch ET’s cooties!

  85. Leon Brozyna says:

    Conspiracy theorists can crawl out from under their rocks. NASA now says UARS landed in the SOUTH Pacific, not the North Pacific as they originally said, with pieces perhaps landing in Canada. It’s all in the ocean bottom.

    http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-satellite-fell-south-pacific-not-canada-201709293.html

  86. Pamela Gray says:

    Keith that was HILLARIOUS!!!!

  87. Mike Murphy says:

    all the trillions of dollars we have given to NASA since 1961 and the best they can do is estimate it will enter the atmosphere between friday and some time today? and it’s projected landing is somewhere over the north pacific or asia or africa; somewhere around there give or take a couple of thousand miles. it’s duty was to check the earth and it’s atmosphere. Let me tell you, the planet is O.K. it’s the people who are screwed up. everything thing we have was here long before we were. iron- wood-water-meat-fish-porkand chicken and many more items.Save the planet? the planet doesn’t need to be saved. when we all are gone , the planet is going to save itself. the buildings will rot and fall. so will all the dams so water can get back to flowing where it had been since who knows when. there’ll be trees growing on Broadway in NYC right past wall street and ivy and weeds and free wild animals will be resting on the floor of the stock exchange. every trace of man will be gone, except maybe plastic. maybe that’s why we were here! the earth couldn’t produce plastic. it had all the ingredients ; but it needed machines and people to run the machines. in a couple of thousand years life from another galaxy, far far away will land on earth and find zillions of plastic bottles, some empty and some full. they might say ” this must be what they worshipped and held sacred. this is all over the planet. COCA_COLA must have been their god as there is more of it than all the rest. and who could this Mc Donald be? was in above or under Burger the King. very strange planet we have landed on.. XRBORZ give me that utensil that says PEPSI and has a liquid of some kind in it. XRBORZ gives it to the leader who figures out that if you turn this blue disc on top bubbles rise inside the vessel. the leader seeing this , drops the vessel and runs a short distance away.telling his companions” just before the bubbles came, i heard a HISS. thinking it harmful i dropped it and ran.but nothing happened except a brown liquid shot out of it’s opening when i dropped it.” XRBORZ bring me another one of those vessels. taking it he twisted the blue disc off, heard the hiss, then saw the bubbles, and nothing HAPPENED!!! the leader, who we shall cal george , smelt the brown liquid, swet smelling he said but the bubbles make my nose itch. taking a small portion and swishing it around in his mouth then swallowed a drop said, hey, this crap ain’y bad a drank the whole vessel which resulted in a loud noise to come out of his mouth. a little shaken by the noise he said” this stuff even tastes good when the noise came out of my mouth. but alas it burned a little in great quantity i had. look around all of you and see what else you find. maybe there is something that will allow us to drink this liquid without the burning feeling.” as the people were looking around, george’s wife said” come to the ship george and take for your nap.” Nap!! i can’t sleep now, i have a feeling that won’t let me stand still, no less sleep! finding a vessel of COCA-COLA george twisted the red disc, heard the Hiss , saw the bubbles and thought ‘ this is doing the same thing that PEPSI vessel did'” he drank a bit deemed it good and chugged the vessel. bingo another noise from his mother. this one tasted a little different than the first. i wonder why? meanwhile XRBORZ brought a vesel that looked different it’s contents were lighter in color. george twisted the disc on top , smelled a bit put a drop on his tongue and claimed this is a little bit sweet but there was no Hiss nor bubbles inside the vessel. taking a sip he said ” this didn’t burn as much as the first 2 maybe, just maybe if i put some of this into that vessel with the red disc it will make it less burning.” so george poured some of the no bubbles liquid into the vessel with the red disc drank some and said it was less burning . he poured some more liquid into the bubbles and drank it all.” BOY that was smooth george claimed. XRBORZ what is that new liquid you found? i don’t know george but it says BACCARDI. well george said find more and bring more COCA COLA after about 3 hours of drinking this mixture with his crew who had found much more of this BACCARDI, they spent the afternoon laughing and telling stories. about an hour after this george’s wife called out” george, you meal is ready to consume” SHUT UP BITCH” george yelled can’t a guy who traveled 3 billion light years have a little fun with his friends???? soon george decided he didn’t really need the liquid with the bubbles. and drank the BACCARDI right out of the vessel along with other vessels the men found with letters on the vessels that said DEWERS and CANADIAN VO and CUERVO among many more. yep george said, “i can see us staying here for a long long time. the earth groaned NOT AGAIN

  88. Mike Murphy says:

    sorry for the spelling. and all due respect to george carlin, from which this tale has stolen some of his lines throughout his long and hillarious career. also thanks to mr. cahill on facebook who put this in my head yesterday.

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