Receive the Mach newsletter.
By Tom Metcalfe
When the space probe Cosmos 482 was launched in 1972 in Leonid from Kazakhstan Brezhnev was in the Kremlin, and the Soviet Union fought with the US for supremacy in space ,
Five decades later, the Soviet Union and its ambitious space program are no more. But the now badly damaged robot spaceship is still orbiting the earth. And experts agree that it's about to fall to the surface of the planet ̵
When will the vehicle fall off? A news agency cited an expert who said it might fall this year or early 2020. Other experts specify a different schedule. "I'm pretty confident to say at least the early 2020s, and I would not be surprised if it were the late 2020s," said Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Earth loses some speed and does not rise that much next time, "he added. With each orbit, the train from the thin upper atmosphere of the earth accelerates the speed of the probe a bit: "The orbit eventually becomes too low."
Falling Soviet Space Probe
The Russian space historian Pavel Shubin agrees that Cosmos becomes 482 probably still survive in orbit for several more years. "I made an assessment last year and found that it can fly for quite a long time," he said in an e-mail, anchoring reentry around 2026.
The high orbital speed of Kosmos 482 – about 17,000 miles per hour per hour – makes it impossible to predict where the probe will come from. McDowell, however, said it is likely that he will crash into the ocean or hit unoccupied land within about 4,000 miles on either side of the equator – an area that covers more than half of the Earth's surface.
Most space debris burns before the Earth's atmosphere is reached. But Kosmos 482, which carries a lander designed to survive Venus' corrosive atmosphere and melting temperatures, is made of harder material than most space debris. This means that at least parts of the probe will likely survive the fall to Earth.
Missing Venus mission
Cosmos 482 was a "failed sister mission" of the Soviet Venera probe Venera 8, which was launched several days from Kazakhstan According to Don Mitchell, a space historian based in Redmond, Washington
Venara made 8 im The first successful landing on another planet took place in July 1972 and sent back data about the Venusian atmosphere and the landscape for 50 minutes before it fell victim to extreme conditions in the world.
But Cosmos 482 suffered a missile failure when it came to Venus and was in a highly elliptical orbit around the Earth. In the 1970s, the highest point of the spacecraft was more than 5,000 miles above the Earth. now the highest point is only 1,200 miles. And on every two-hour orbit, Cosmos 482 swings about 130 kilometers from Earth's surface.
Parts of the infested space probe Kosmos 482 have already hit Earth: on a farm in New Zealand, spherical Titan tanks fell a few weeks after launch. Cyrillic inscriptions showed that the "space balls" were Russian, but the mysterious Soviets never admitted that they were responsible.
The Dutch astronomer Ralph Vandebergh photographed Cosmos 482 in orbit in 2011 and 2014. He said his irregular shape had damaged the spaceship by a missile blast.
Over the years, there have been several horrors about space debris – including China's Tiangong-1 space station, which plummeted into the Pacific Ocean last year. However, it is known that only one person was hit by falling space debris. Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Lottie Williams was hit on the shoulder of a six-inch rocket in 1997, but survived without injury.
You want to know more about space?
[NBCNEWSMACHON TWITTER FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM.