So apparently defunct satellites blithely falling from the sky is a thing now. After last week's UARS debacle, the now-defunct German Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) is scheduled to crash to Earth in late October or early November.
The ROSAT was originally an X-Ray observatory developed by Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom and launched in 1990. Its design life was 18 months, but it functioned fully through 1994, and was only shut down for good in 1999. And now it's coming to kill us all.
For its part, the German Aerospace Agency promises to provide frequent updates, similar to NASA during the UARS scare. Though apparently the ROSAT's orbit means it could land anywhere from Canada to South America, which sounds totally reasonable and not at all incredibly horrifying. And the odds of its debris crushing a human being are a less optimistic 1-in-2000, compared to UARS's 1-in-3200.
The danger period is still a pretty wide window, so you certainly have time to get your affairs in order before you're crushed to death but a 2.4-ton molten German satellite. But do begin praying to whatever deity or Sector 7 flower girl you go to for salvation from giant falling space objects. [Smart Planet, NASA]
Image Credit: German Aerospace Center