By now you’ve probably heard there’s a bus sized satellite ready to plunge into the atmosphere. It’s the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite. Originally it was going to decend this evening. Now it looks like overnight or maybe tomorrow. That shifts the possible touchdown point(s) farther east to the Pacific Ocean or the Americas. That’s where we live!
Does anyone really know? No. UARS is oddly shaped. Any shift in attitude will change projections and shifts are almost certain.
Considering it orbits the Earth every hour and a half or so a delay of a few hours will totally change where UARS falls.
Here’s the takeaway. No matter where this bad boy comes crashing down it’s likely to miss everyone! About two thirds of the Earth’s area is covered by water. For the other third humans cover less ground than you’d think.
Wikipedia: Considering that over half of the Earth’s land mass consists of areas inhospitable to human inhabitation, such as deserts and high mountains, and… population tends to cluster around seaports and fresh water sources.
It’s much more probable someone somewhere will see the burning trail of incoming space shrapnel than encounter it. Glowing metal in the nighttime sky will be visible at great distances.
If you’re worried about UARS hitting you you’ve got bigger issues to consider!