Beware Phobos-Grunt!

It won't bring back a zombie virus either.

(Flickr/user Sweetie187)

It’s no big deal and we’re sure everything is fine but a 14-ton Russian spacecraft is falling to Earth late today or early Monday and no one really knows where it may land. The doomed Phobos-Grunt mission–intended to gather soil samples from the Martian moon Phobos–went awry in early November and the satellite has been in a steadily decaying orbit ever since.

One estimate states that Phobos-Grunt may finally come down over the coast of Argentina but solar activity and atmospheric changes make its true trajectory pretty unpredictable. So the $165 million project could splash down in the middle of the ocean, on someone’s home somewhere in West Africa, or–and this is the least likely scenario–in your back yard.

Most experts believe there’s no real danger from Phobos-Grunt. Speaking to Reuters, journalist Igor Marinin said the falling satellite will simply be “a fabulous show,” owing to the explosion of Phobos-Grunt’s 11-ton payload of toxic rocket fuel. Which is comforting.

[Reuters/Yahoo! News]