Nasa claims a lifeless spacecraft will crash back to Earth in the coming days. Thankfully, it is not thought to pose any threat to human life.
It is expected that the majority of the spacecraft will be destroyed by entering the atmosphere. (Sample Photograph with Microsoft’s A.I.-Powered Picture Search Query)
After almost 21 years in orbit, a decommissioned Nasa satellite is expected to crash to Earth over the next few days. Most of the spacecraft, which weighs around 300 kilograms, is designed to be destroyed by fire upon re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.
The US military estimates that the Sun-studying RHESSI satellite will return to Earth at 9:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday (7:00 a.m. Thursday), with a margin of error of +/-16 hours. According to a Nasa statement, “Nasa and the Defense Department will continue to monitor re-entry.”
In a defensive exercise, a NASA spaceship crashed into an asteroid.
Some parts of the spacecraft are expected to survive re-entry, but the rest is predicted to burn up in the atmosphere. Nasa has stated that the likelihood of any harm coming to anyone on Earth is extremely low, at around 1 in 2,467.
RHESSI was shut down on August 16, 2018, after serving the community faithfully since its 2002 inception. The space agency claims that communication issues prevented them from turning the detectors back on after the sixth anneal.
Recognize the RHESSI satellite
From its low-Earth orbit, RHESSI observed solar flares and coronal mass ejections from 2002 until 2018, helping researchers decipher the physics behind these powerful explosions. (Also see: NASA satellite snaps a grin from the Sun. Get the science down)
Data collected by RHESSI was crucial in understanding solar flares and the coronal mass ejections they spawned. RHESSI was able to record nearly 100,000 X-ray events, giving researchers a window into the energetic particles that make up solar flares.
Over the years, RHESSI has recorded a wide range of solar flares, from tiny nanoflares to massive superflares hundreds of times larger and more explosive.
The RHESSI team has made discoveries unrelated to flares, such as refining measurements of the Sun’s structure and showing that gamma-ray bursts are produced more frequently than previously thought from high in Earth’s atmosphere above lightning storms.