38-year old NASA satellite set to fall on Earth today; injury scare alert | Tech News

38-year old NASA satellite set to fall on Earth today; injury scare alert

NASA’s retired Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere on January 8, 2023.

| Updated on: Jan 08 2023, 01:26 IST
Total lunar eclipse to SpaceX, 4 amazing photos captured By NASA
NASA Earth Radiation Budget Satellite
1/5  These pictures taken by NASA were informative and eye catching. Take a quick look. 1. In the very first photo, a composite made from ten images shows the progression of the Moon during a total lunar eclipse above the Vehicle Assembly Building, November 8, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Visible trailing the Moon in this composite is Mars. From left to right, the Moon starts off at its usual brightness and gradually becomes a dull red. (NASA)
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2/5 While in the second photograph the SpaceX Crew Dragon Freedom spacecraft descends to Earth with four parachutes that resemble jellyfish. The four chutes are fully deployed and the candy corn-shaped capsule dangles below. The sky looks clear and blue. (NASA)
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3/5 In the third photo the capsule is Gray and it sits atop its beige airbags which deployed moments before touchdown in the desert. Workers access the top of the capsule via ladder. (NASA)
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4/5 In the fourth photo, the Night-time closeup of the fiery exhaust from the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Surface Water and Ocean Topography, or SWOT, satellite aboard, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. (NASA)
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5/5 Every picture taken by NASA has its own significance and it tells a lot about the space and the position of the planet. The snaps taken by NASA helps researchers to find out about the past and upcoming threats and opportunities. (NASA)
NASA Earth Radiation Budget Satellite
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NASA Earth Radiation Budget Satellite will be falling back to Earth. (NASA)

NASA has sent a huge number of technical gadgets like rockets, satellites, telescopes, spacecraft and more in space to monitor objects like asteroids, meteors, planets, Sun, galaxies, black holes and much more. However, some of that equipment has a nasty habit of falling back to Earth. In fact, NASA's famous Skylab fell back to Earth some 40 years ago, remember? And now as per the latest details, the dead, or retired, NASA Earth Radiation Budget Satellite will be falling back to Earth, it has been revealed. It will be reentering the planet's atmosphere most likely on Sunday, January 8, 2023.

Informing about the same, NASA said in a report, "in early January NASA's retired Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) is expected to reenter Earth's atmosphere after almost four decades in space. For 21 of those years, the ERBS actively investigated how the Earth absorbed and radiated energy from the Sun, and made measurements of stratospheric ozone, water vapor, nitrogen dioxide, and aerosols."

As of January 5, the Department of Defense predicted that the 5400-pound satellite will reenter the atmosphere at approximately 6:40 p.m. EST on Sunday, January 8 with an uncertainty of +/- 17 hours. NASA and the Defense Department will continue to monitor the reentry and update the predictions, the report added.

NASA expects most of the satellite to burn up as it travels through the atmosphere. However, worryingly, components that are big and strong are expected to survive the reentry and hit Earth. While that is very risky, the chances of harm coming to anyone is very low – approximately 1 in 9400.

Launched from the Space Shuttle Challenger on October 5, 1984, the ERBS spacecraft was part of NASA's three-satellite Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) mission. It carried three instruments, two to measure the Earth's radiative energy budget, and one to measure stratospheric constituents, including ozone.

ERBS far exceeded its expected two-year service life, operating until its retirement in 2005. Its observations helped researchers measure the effects of human activities on Earth's radiation balance. NASA has continued to build on the success of the ERBE mission with projects including the current Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) suite of satellite instruments.

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First Published Date: 07 Jan, 17:50 IST