Out of 600,000 bits of space debris, we're about to be hit by one the size of a busDate: 28 January2008
Source: The Scotsman
By TRISTAN STEWART-ROBINSON
IT IS the size of a bus, weighs in at ten tonnes, is loaded with toxic chemicals and is hurtling to Earth at 22,000mph. No-one, unfortunately, knows where it is going to land.
US government officials admitted yesterday that they have lost control of a spy satellite and said it will smash into the planet within weeks.
The unnamed surveillance satellite is just one of an estimated 600,000 pieces of space junk currently flying above our heads.
Experts have warned that humanity has made "a zoo" of space with the amount of dead satellites and rubbish.
The spacecraft may have lost power as much as a year ago, but there is no estimate of where it could hit or what damage it could cause.
Only one person has ever reportedly been struck by a piece of space debris – a woman in Oklahoma who was hit in the shoulder by a piece of material but uninjured.
UK bookmakers last night placed the odds of being struck by this US spy satellite at at least 20 billion to one.
But while many bits of space junk are guided to crash down safely into the sea, the lack of control over the satellite means its operators cannot say where it will land.
Read the rest of the story and the comments here.
Satellite unlikely to pose danger to humans - read story