Failed Russian Mars probe to hit Earth

Expected to hit Earth Sunday

By Trent Aric - Meteorologist
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MIAMI - A Russian space craft is expected to hit the Earth on Sunday.

The failed Russian Mars probe, named Phobos-Grunt, will plummet back to Earth since being declared a loss in November of 2011. 

Nearly 500 pounds of the 13 ton space craft are expected to survive reentry into the atmosphere with the rest incinerating.  What remains of the space craft is expected to break up into 20-30 segments and more than likely fall into the ocean, being most of our planet is covered by water. 

The latest predictions have it splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South America on Sunday.  The exact location of the crash will more than likely will change in the next few days.  The Earth's atmosphere expands and contracts, which will alter the drag on Phobos-Grunt and the angle it is pulled to Earth.  The path will become a little more certain on Saturday.                                                                                         

NASA and FEMA are both monitoring the situation just in case of the outside chance that there are impacts in the United States.      

On Friday, the International Space Station had to be moved to dodge a softball sized piece of space junk that was part of the Iridium 33 communications satellite.  The Iridium 33 collided with a broken Russian spacecraft in 2009 creating a large cloud of thousands of pieces of debris which orbit the Earth and create collision hazards to working spacecraft like the ISS. 

This is the thirteen time since 1998 that the station has had to dodge space junk.

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