Why space debris, uncontrolled satellites falling from sky shoul - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Why space debris, uncontrolled satellites falling from sky shouldn't scare you

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

A European satellite is expected to come crashing down to earth by the end of the week, but it's hard to say where, exactly, it will land.
     
Thousands of pounds of space debris fall to the earth every year, but we never hear about anyone getting hurt; that's because no one ever has.

When looking for an expert on things out of this world, we found one just down the road at the Tyler Junior College planetarium.

Center for Earth and Space Science Education Assistant Director Robert Parish explained why a satellite falling to earth in a fiery ball of destruction isn't as big a deal as it sounds.

"Uncontrolled re-entries of satellites happen all of the time... almost on a daily basis," said Parish.

Many satellites are sent into space by people who know they'll one day come crashing down without anyone in control.

"Some satellites are larger than a car. Some are smaller than a trash can," explained Parish.

The TJC planetarium's featured show, "Space Junk," explains why space debris is not as dangerous as it sounds.

"There has been no recorded time where a piece of space debris has re-entered the earth's atmosphere and hit anyone or any manmade object that we know of," said Parish.

While the debris may be uncontrolled, it is being tracked.

"Once they actually start tracking it, once it sharply starts falling, it becomes much more accurate. They can pin-point within several square kilometers where it's going to hit," said Parish.

More often than not, it'll land in the ocean, but every now and then a collision sends extra debris falling down fast. Even taking that into consideration, Parish says you can trust that you won't become the victim of falling space debris.

"You have nothing to worry about. The likelihood of a satellite hitting anywhere near you is astronomically low," he said.

If you want to learn more about the debris floating through space and falling into our skies, you can catch the show, "Space Junk," at the Tyler Junior College planetarium through the end of the year. For showtimes and information on their other exhibits, click here.


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