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NASA Satellite Will Crash Into Earth Tonight. Chances of It Causing Harm Are '1 in 2,467.' The old spacecraft is expected to burn up as it reenters the atmosphere.

By Jonathan Small

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Don't look up.

The U.S. Department of Defenses says a dead NASA 600-pound satellite will hurtle back into the Earth's atmosphere on Wednesday night.

The Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) has been floating in space for over 20 years, observing and recording more than 100,000 solar events. But it was decommissioned in 2018.

NASA and the Dept of Defense predict it will crash into Earth in a few hours, but the chances of it hitting "anyone on Earth is low" with odds about 1 in 2,467. said a spokesperson for NASA.

Earlier today, officials in Kyiv speculated the satellite may have fallen on their city after a mysterious flash lit up the skies over the Ukrainian capital. But NASA told the BBC the satellite had not reached Earth yet.

Why is the satellite crashing to Earth?

Dead satellites don't travel fast enough to go past the curve of the planet before being pulled down to the surface. When gravity takes over, it causes the satellite falls to Earth.

Smaller satellites, such as RHESSI, will often burn up in the atmosphere as they descend. But some parts can still remain intact and strike Earth.

Related: A Museum Is Offering $25,000 to Find the Meteorite That Just Struck Earth

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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