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Satellite debris plummeting toward Earth

The European Space Agency's Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite is seen in this undated file photo. (European Space Agency)
November 10, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A 2,000-pound satellite, the size of an SUV, is spiraling out of control and barreling straight toward Earth.

It's expected to crash sometime within the next couple of days.

The European Space Agency launched its GOCE satellite more than four years ago to map the Earth's gravitational field. Its mission ended last month when it ran out of fuel.

Nobody knows exactly where it will fall.

The only confirmed case of someone getting hit by space debris was Lottie Williams in 1997 while she was power walking in Oklahoma.

"My advice is to be outside," said Williams. "If you see it coming, run."

If you are picturing a car falling on your front porch, don't get too ahead of yourself. According to NASA, the chance of retired space junk actually hitting you on its way back to Earth is one in 32,000.

You're also 250,000 times more likely to win the lottery than to get hit by satellite debris.


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