Look Out Below!

Russia's making it rain today with 2,500 lbs of space junk, so... duck and cover!

 At some point today, a rogue Russian spacecraft called Progress 59 will make a fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere after failing to complete a resupply mission. Shortly after reaching orbit the capsule began spinning wildly out of control causing Russian controllers to abandon the plan to dock with the International Space Station.

 

The capsule was loaded with over 3 tons of supplies including "three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the space station crew, including 1,940 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water, and 3,128 pounds of spare parts, supplies and scientific experiment hardware," says NASA.

 

In spite of how super-duper-important that all sounds, NASA likes to overstock the ISS so as not to completely rely on the Russians for survival. And while objects enter our atmosphere to little effect every day, it's rare that something so large and durable makes the plunge. Because the beast is so massive, scientists are predicting that anywhere from 2,500-3,500 lbs of debris will survive the burn and be spread across hundreds of miles of the planet's surface.

 

Certain unknowns are making it difficult to predict exactly when and where the debris will land, but they've been able to narrow it down to... some point today. If ever there was a perfect time for re-enacting the Cold War duck and cover drills, today would be the day.

 

To date, there has never been a recorded death resulting from something man-made falling from space... Here at BioPop, we have our fingers crossed we can say the same thing tomorrow.

 

You can track the progress of the fated capsule right here!

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Beautiful art through Biology for the Popular Culture.