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Dead NASA Satellite Barrels Toward Earth

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- NASA is tracking one of its dead satellites (UARS) the size of a school bus.

Officials expect it to tear through the earth's atmosphere at tens of thousands of miles an hour Friday afternoon.

But officials say it will break up into pieces.

Still sound scary?!

We went to our experts at the Carnegie Science Center's Buhl Digital Planetarium to find out how much of a threat, if any, we could be facing.

"Some of the pieces will be considerably large," Robert Marshall said. "It's estimated 26 large pieces and the largest of those will be roughly 300 pounds that will actually not break up in the atmosphere."

NASA officials say they also don't know exactly where the debris will land. But two hours before it enters the atmosphere, they'll have a better idea of the drop zone.

"They look at this satellite using a telescope just like ours," Marshall said. "They've actually determined that it's rotating – it's spinning out of control and that's due to the fact that it has no more fuel left."

So what's the chance that you will get hit?

"It's not gonna land anywhere in North America and you have to remember the earth is covered 70 percent in water. So chances are it will be a splash down.

"The chances of it hitting somebody would be 1 in 3,200 and the chances of it hitting you at home would be less than a trillionth of a trillionth," he said.

Now that we know we're out of danger, where can we see it? We won't!

Marshall says a fireworks display of sorts upon re-entry will be seen on the other part of the globe. We won't see anything here in North America.

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