On the night of April 20, 2023, a decommissioned satellite named RHESSI is set to crash into the Earth's atmosphere. The satellite, which weighs around 300kg, was launched in 2002 by NASA to study solar flares and other phenomena related to the sun. However, it has now reached the end of its life and is no longer under control. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what this means, how likely it is to cause harm, and what NASA is doing to manage the situation.
What is RHESSI?
RHESSI stands for the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager. It is a satellite that was launched in 2002 to study solar flares. Its main objective was to understand the process of energy release during solar flares and to study the high-energy particles that are produced during these events.
The satellite was equipped with state-of-the-art technology to capture images of the sun in high-energy X-rays and gamma rays. It has helped scientists to better understand the physical processes that occur during a solar flare and the way in which they impact the Earth's environment.Also Read:
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Why is it crashing?
After almost 21 years in space, the satellite has exhausted its fuel and its orbit has started to decay. This means that it is no longer under control and is now on a collision course with Earth. The satellite is expected to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere tonight and it is likely that most of it will burn up during re-entry. However, there is a small chance that some debris could survive and reach the ground.
How likely is it to cause harm?
NASA has stated that the risk of the satellite causing harm is extremely low. The majority of the satellite is expected to burn up during re-entry, and any debris that survives is likely to fall into the ocean or unpopulated areas. However, there is a small chance that debris could fall in a populated area, which is why NASA is closely monitoring the situation.
What is NASA doing?
NASA has been closely monitoring the satellite's orbit and has been keeping track of its movements as it approaches the Earth. The agency has been using a network of ground-based radars and sensors to track the satellite's trajectory and predict where it is likely to land.
NASA has also been working closely with international partners to ensure that they are aware of the situation and can take appropriate measures if necessary. The agency has stated that it is ready to respond to any potential debris that falls in a populated area and has been working with local authorities to ensure that they are prepared.
So, the RHESSI satellite is set to crash into the Earth's atmosphere tonight after reaching the end of its life. While there is a small chance that debris could survive and reach the ground, NASA has stated that the risk of harm is extremely low. The agency has been closely monitoring the situation and is ready to respond if necessary. It is a reminder of the importance of responsible satellite management and the need to ensure that they are safely decommissioned at the end of their life.Read More:
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That's it for this article.
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