(CNN) - Nobody knows where or when the fragments will hit, but the European Space Agency has said the parts are likely to fall into the ocean or unpopulated areas. Potential spots will be narrowed down closer to re-entry, ESA said on its website.
Re-entry probably will occur Sunday or Monday, Rune Floberghagen, mission manager for the Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Explorer, better known as GOCE, told the New York Times.
GOCE was launched in 2009 to map variations in the Earth's gravity in 3D, provide ocean circulation patterns and make other measurements.
ESA's website said the satellite "became the first seismometer in orbit" in March 2011 when it detected sound waves from the earthquake that struck Japan.
GOCE was expected to fall much earlier but fuel consumption was less than expected. In August, the satellite's altitude was lowered to about 139 miles, lowest of any research satellites, to improve the accuracy of the information being gathered, ESA's website said.
GOCE ran out of fuel October 21. On November 4, ESA's website said the satellite was orbiting the Earth at 119 miles and the rate of descent would increase significantly in coming days.
Sunday, April 20 2014 3:32 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:32:21 GMT
Portland police have shut down parts of OHSU while they investigate a report of a person armed with a pipe bomb. Officers and OHSU security made contact with the person, who is no longer in possessionMore >
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Monday, April 21 2014 2:43 AM EDT2014-04-21 06:43:14 GMT
LaMarcus Aldridge scored a franchise playoff-record 46 points and Damian Lillard added 31, including the go-ahead free throws in overtime, to lift the Portland Trail Blazers to a 122-120 victory over the Houston...More >
LaMarcus Aldridge had just fouled out late in overtime after scoring a career-high and franchise playoff-record 46 points when he went to Portland teammate Damian Lillard with a simple message.More >
Wednesday, April 16 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-04-16 13:53:03 GMT
Veterinarians are concerned about a chew toy that seems to be gaining in popularity. Antlers, from deer and other animals, are products that some rave about, but they are leading to fractured teeth.More >
Veterinarians are concerned about a chew toy that seems to be gaining in popularity. Antlers, from deer and other animals, are products that some rave about, but they are leading to fractured teeth in some dogs.More >