CAPE CANAVERAL, Fl.--Plain and train spotters now have a new cousin: falling dead satellite spotters.
A dead UARS (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite), which weighs 6.5 tons and is about the size of a school bus, is expected to enter Earth's atmosphere this week and plunge to the ground, possibly on your house.
When will this happen 'exactly'? As NASA writes on their Website, "September 23, plus or minus one day."
Officials have, however, been able to pinpoint the drop zone for UARS debris between the latitudes of northern Canada and southern Chili, or in other words, the entire planet.
At least 26 pieces are expected by space debris experts to survive the UARS's collision at re-entry.
"Just imagine," said John Nixon, chief scientist of NASA's Orbital Debris Program, "a school bus's motor, rear axle, or a row of green seats being propelled to Earth with incredible speed. This promises to be quite a light show."
Especially if it hits your house?
Nixon: "We compute that there's a 1-in-3,200 chance that UARS debris could strike a person, but candidly, I think the chance of that being true is remote."
U.S. military and NASA officials warn that common folk are not allowed to touch satellite debris, let alone take it home and sell it on eBay.
Officials say, though, that they will not fault anyone if he or she is sliced in two by debris.
Pondered Harfold State College astronomy instructor, Roland Speers, "We can find a planet with two suns over 200 light years from earth, but we can't come up with better info on a satellite sitting 150 miles above Earth?"