A six-ton NASA science satellite crashed to Earth on Saturday, leaving a mystery about where a ton of space debris may have landed.
The U.S. space agency said it believes the debris ended up in the Pacific Ocean, but the precise time of the bus-sized satellite’s re-entry and the location of its debris field have not been determined.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, ended 20 years in orbit with a suicidal plunge into the atmosphere sometime between 11:23 p.m. on Friday and 1:09 a.m. EDT on Saturday (0323 to 0509 GMT Saturday), NASA said.
The satellite would have been torn apart during the fiery re-entry, but about 26 pieces, the largest of which was estimated to have weighed 330 pounds (150 kg), are likely to have survived the fall, officials said.
As it fell to Earth, UARS passed from the east coast of Africa over the Indian Ocean, then the Pacific Ocean, across northern Canada and the northern Atlantic Ocean to a point over West Africa. Most of the transit was over water, with some flight over northern Canada and West Africa, NASA said.
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