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NASA’s RHESSI satellite will fall to Earth. Some parts may not burn up in the atmosphere

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A decommissioned NASA satellite will fall to Earth on Wednesday night. Preliminary predictions indicate that not all of the device’s components will burn up upon reentry, but experts believe that the likelihood of them causing harm to anyone is very low.

Decommissioned satellite NASA The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) observed solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the Sun from 2002 to 2018, helping scientists understand how these powerful bursts of energy are created. Now, almost 21 hours after launch, the device will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere in April.

The U.S. Department of Defense predicted on Monday that the nearly 300-kilogram satellite would re-enter the atmosphere on Thursday, April 19 at 03.30 CET with an uncertainty of about 16 hours. NASA and the Department of Defense continue to monitor the condition of the equipment and update forecasts.

NASA expects most of the device to burn up on reentry, but some components may survive. Scientists reassure that the probability of hurting anyone on Earth is very low at approximately 1 in 2467 – about 0.04 percent.

RHESSI over the Earth – visualization NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

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Eye on the Sun

The RHESSI data provided scientists with important clues about solar flares and their associated coronal mass ejections. During its mission, the satellite recorded more than 100,000 events, allowing scientists to study the energetic particles contained in solar flares.

With the help of the equipment, scientists have also managed to make many other discoveries. The observations allowed us to more accurately determine the shape of the Sun and showed that Earth’s gamma-ray bursts – bursts of gamma rays emitted from high in the Earth’s atmosphere during thunderstorms with lightning – are more common than previously thought.

Main photo source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab



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