Space

The old Soviet probe for the study of Venus may fall to Earth this year.

There are many things on Earthspace debris. These are mainly small particles ranging in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. As a rule, such small garbage is not dangerous for the Earth. Once in the atmosphere, these particles quickly burn and do not reach the surface. At least, according to the Science Alert portal, to date, there have been no confirmed cases of space debris falling on someone’s head. Everything can change already this year, unless of course very lucky. After all, this time we are talking about the whole unserviceable Soviet space probe "Cosmos-482" weighing almost 500 kilograms. Why such confidence? The fact is that the probe has a very powerful thermal protection, so the device may not completely burn when it enters the atmosphere.

The Soviet Union at the end of March 1972 launchedtwo spacecraft "Venera-8" and "Cosmos-482". Both were intended for the study of Venus. The Venara-8 station, sent on March 27, successfully reached its target and became the second spacecraft in history that successfully reached the surface of Venus in July of the same year. The first was also the Soviet station Venera-7, which landed on the surface of the second planet from the Sun in December 1970.

Launched March 31, 1972 "Cosmos-482" because ofproblems in the upper stage could not reach the specified orbit, eventually collapsing into pieces. Within several months after launch, some of its fragments fell into the atmosphere of the Earth and burned down. But the main part of the probe weighing 495 kilograms remained in near-earth orbit, with a frequency of 112 hours performing one orbit around the planet and constantly decreasing. According to previous estimates by experts, the Soviet station should have fallen to Earth sometime in 2023-2025, but a more recent estimate indicates the possibility of an earlier fall of the apparatus to Earth.

According to experts, there is a possibility thatit will not completely burn in the atmosphere, but will reach the surface of the Earth, as it is equipped with a powerful heat shield that would allow it to work in conditions of a venusian environment.

"The lander will survive without any problems when enteringin atmosphere. It would be amazing if the parachute opened up during the descent. But I am sure that the squibs, which are designed to open a parachute, have long been out of order, ”Space.com quotes as a specialist in monitoring satellites from Oklahoma, Thomas Dorman.

According to the expert’s forecast, the device, which is now in orbit with an apogee of 1,700 km and a perigee of 200 km, can enter the dense layers of the atmosphere either at the end of this year, or at the beginning of the next.

"The difficulty is that no one can predict solar activity, which will affect the rate of decline of the device," added Dorman.

Is it worth worrying? It is hard to say. Although the probability of danger to people seems unlikely. Even large objects of space debris, for example, the same Chinese orbital space station Tyangun-1, which fell to Earth last year, ended its days in the ocean - in the end it is water that occupies the largest surface area of ​​our planet.

Modern spacecraft as a ruledeveloped with the possibility of combustion in the dense layers of the atmosphere in the event of an accident, but we are talking about the probe, which was created almost 50 years ago. And as the story of the American space station Skylab, which fell in Australia in 1973, shows, it is extremely difficult to predict the exact location of the fall of such vehicles.

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