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Realistic Asteroid Fall on Fire

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A dead 5,000-pound satellite launched by the European Space Agency is expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere and crash down onto the planet Wednesday.

That’s the word from the agency’s Space Debris Office, which has been monitoring the journey of the ERS-2 satellite.

It says the piece of space junk should make its re-entry at about 3:53 p.m. EST, give or take about seven hours.

“As the spacecraft’s reentry is ‘natural,’ without the possibility to perform maneuvers, it is impossible to know exactly where and when it will reenter the atmosphere and begin to burn up,” reads a statement released by the ESA.

The good news is the satellite is expected to break apart upon re-entry and most of its pieces will likely burn up about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface, the agency reports.

ESA experts are hoping the pieces that make it through will land in the ocean, they say.

If something like this were to land on people, what effect would the incident have on space exploration?