NASA satellite to fall to Earth today – should we worry about it hitting someone?

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An old NASA satellite is expected to fall to Earth this week, but experts say chances that it will pose any danger are low.

The defunct spacecraft, known as Rhessi, will plummet through the atmosphere on Wednesday night, according to NASA and the US defence department.

NASA said on Tuesday that the re-entry location is not being disclosed, given lingering uncertainty over when and where it might go down.

Most of the 300kg satellite should burn up as it hurtles through the upper atmosphere, but some parts are expected to fall to Earth.

The space agency said in a statement the risk of anyone on the surface being harmed by plunging satellite pieces is “low” – about one in 2,467.

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Rhessi – short for the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager – rocketed into orbit in 2002 to study the sun.

Before being shut down in 2018 because of communication problems, the satellite observed solar flares as well as coronal mass ejections from the sun.

It captured images in high-energy X-rays and gamma rays, recording more than 100,000 solar events.

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