A really cool-looking satellite named GOCE has finished its mission measuring gravity and ocean circulation (which is what it's named for, the Gravity and Ocean Circulation Explorer) is going to re-enter and burn up in Earth's atmosphere. But not all of it will burn up. Some of it will survive to hit the surface. And they don't know where.
|Yeah, this is really what the GOCE satellite looks like|
Now, this is not at all to detract from the success of the mission, which by all accounts was quite successful. No, it's just about space debris and the need to have controlled re-entries so a piece of this wondrous, gorgeous satellite doesn't end up a steaming mass of metal on my living room rug after burning a hole through my f*cking roof.
Sheesh. Well, according to the article, they know now to try and make it so these things don't have controlled re-entries, and there's even an international agreement to do so, but when GOCE was launched, they didn't have such an agreement.
Oh well. GOCE measured gravity, and very soon it will prove that gravity still works.