|NASA ARTIST CONCEPTION|
NASA's UARS satellite is now predicted to fall back to the earth during the afternoon of September 23, 2011 (Eastern Daylight Time) according to a NASA orbital update which was released today.
As of Sept. 21, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 120 mi by 130 mi (205 km by 225 km). It is still too early to predict the exact time and location of re-entry. But NASA predicts that it will not hit North America.
The re-entry of UARS is advancing because of a sharp increase in solar activity the during last two weeks.
Increased solar activity heats up the earth's atmosphere, sending more atmospheric molecules further into space which causes additional drag on low orbital satellites.
The range of latitude where UARS is expected to fall remains the same.
The risk to public safety or property is extremely small according to NASA. Since the beginning of the Space Age in the late-1950s, there have been no confirmed reports of an injury resulting from re-entering space objects. Nor is there a record of significant property damage resulting from a satellite re-entry.
However, all heavily populated areas of the earth could potentially experience falling debris.