Earth has been warned of another possible satellite collision as an orbiting telescope weighing nearly three tons has spun out of control and is plummeting homewards at high speed.
ROSAT, a German X-ray telescope built with British and American technology, has been orbiting the Earth since 1990 and has provided invaluable data on stars. But they lost contact with it in 1999.
It is now predicted to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at the end of this month, the Daily Mail reported.
The German Aerospace Centre has warned that 30 “individual pieces weighing a total of 1.6 tons may reach the surface of the Earth.”
ROSAT’s heat-resistant mirror in particular may not burn up upon re-entry and falling debris may include razor-sharp shards.
However, Professor Heiner Klinkrad of the European Space Agency assured: “Until now in the more than 50-years of space history not a single person has been harmed [by pieces of falling satellites].”