GOCE Satellite: European Space Agency's Satellite Plunges to Earth, Debris Caused No Damage Near Falkland Islands
By Jenalyn Villamarin | November 13, 2013 2:20 PM EST
The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) research satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA), launched in 2009 to chart the Earth's gravitational field fluctuation, ran out of fuel making it plunge to Earth. Fortunately, the satellite debris that re-entered the Earth's atmosphere did not cause any damage as it fell near Falkland Islands.
Bill Chater, a resident of Falkland Islands in the east of Argentina, spotted the falling GOCE satellite during its fiery dive on Sunday evening, November 10. "We saw it burn up from the Falklands at about 9.20pm last night. Came from the South breaking up into bits," Mr Chater posted on his Twitter account @Cheds23 with a link to the image captured.
"Driving southwards at dusk, it appeared with bright smoke trail and split in 2 before splitting again into more and going on north," Mr Chater further explained in the Huff Post Science report. The European Space Agency has confirmed that Bill Chater's image shows the GOCE satellite plunging to Earth.
"The satellite re-entered the atmosphere at around 7 p.m. EST Monday on a descending orbit pass that extended across Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica," the ESA declared in a statement. The agency further added: "As expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported."
The GOCE satellite's mission is to gather information to be used in understanding the ocean circulation, sea level, ice dynamics and planet Earth's interior. The research satellite was expected to last for only 20 months but the space craft was able to slowly burn its fuel making it continue in orbit for two more years.
The GOCE satellite slowly descended over the last three weeks after it ran out of fuel on October 21. The ESA scientists assured that there is only small chance to get hit with the satellite and the remains are most likely to drop in the ocean.
Heiner Klinkrad, head of the ESA's Space Debris office declared in a statement that "a person is 250,000 more likely to win the jackpot in a lottery than to get hit by a fragment from the falling satellite." However, people are still cautious when it comes to an object falling from space since it can cause damage when it hits the ground.
"Some people liken the falling satellite to an airplane flying without an engine. Many are suggesting that future satellites should be designed to include an engine that can be controlled where it lands during earth re-entry," the Kicker Daily News report reads.
More Articles to Read:
2013 Comet ISON: Professional Photographer Justin Ng Captures the 'Comet of the Century' October 27 Journey - [READ]
2013 Comet ISON: National Science Foundation Launches Comet ISON Photo Contest for Amateur Astronomers - [READ]
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- George Clooney And Amal Alamuddin's Wedding In Venice: Photos Of Groom And His Family, Friends [Slideshow]
- NFL Recap - Week 4: Green Bay Packers 38, Chicago Bears 17 [PHOTOS]
- NFL Recap: New York Giants 45, Washington Redskins 14 [PHOTOS]
- Photos Of George Clooney And Amal Alamuddin, They Get Married Again On Monday [Slideshow]
Join the Conversation
- Pregnant Kate Middleton Reportedly Prohibits Camilla Parker-Bowles From ‘Seeing Her Family’ And Newborn
- Ebola in US: Stock Surge for Pharmaceutical Companies Working on Vaccine
- Kate Middleton And Prince William Have Chosen The Name Of Their Second Child- Details
- Local Syrians Have Mixed Reactions To US Airstrikes Against ISIS; Opposition 'Suspicious'
- Melbourne Wakes Up To Anti-Terror Raids: Seabrook Man Arrested For Funding Terrorist Organisation
- 3 Reasons to Get the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Instead of the iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 vs Moto G 2014: Motorola’s Budget Smartphone Takes On Apple’s Premium Smartphone
- Google HTC Nexus 9 Tablet October 24 Launch Date Benefits Many
- Galaxy Note 4 vs Nexus 6: Which Smartphone Dominates
- MH 370 Search In Ocean To Intensify With Hi Tech Ships Joining The Plane Hunt From October
- Nexus 7 Tips and Tricks
- New Windows OS Is Not Windows 9, Microsoft To Launch Windows 10 As New OS Build