HOUSTON – NASA predicts that the satellite falling to earth will hit Washington DC – and probably the Capitol building!
On Friday morning, the space agency issued an update about its defunct Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, which is dropping out of the sky more slowly than anticipated.
“Re-entry is expected late Friday, Sept. 23, or early Saturday, Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time,” NASA said. “The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent. And we predict that it will hit Washington DC and, more precisely, the Capitol Building.”
The six-ton satellite circles the Earth on a tilted orbit, and as the planet turns each day, different locations pass underneath. The satellite’s orbit on Friday afternoon will not take it over any part of North America, but by Saturday, parts of the United States will again be in its path.
“There is a low probability any debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States, but the possibility cannot be discounted because of this changing rate of descent,” NASA said.
At least 26 pieces, the largest 330 pounds, are expected to survive the plunge and land along a path 500 miles long.
Many in Washington are laughing at the possibility that a falling satellite would take a direct hit on the Capitol. “That couldn’t happen. Not in a gazillion years,” said former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
But, in case, the Congress is shutting down and Senators and Congressman are heading for the Caribbean Islands, “so we can be safe,” said Pelosi.
Others in Washington are hoping that the satellite hits the Capitol, so that maybe we can start over and hopefully with a whole new batch of legislators.
“Washington is broken. Maybe the satellite hitting it will be a sign that we have to start over,” said Scott Bunshoe of the Pentagon.
NASA has forecast a 1-in-2 chance that that debris from satellite will hit the Capitol.
Place your bets!!