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1970s Soviet Venus probe to crash back on Earth after decades
Where the probe will crash remains to be seen.
Back in March 1972, the Soviet Union launched a space probe dubbed Kosmos 482 which was meant to explore Venus. unfortunately, the probe never made it to Venus' orbit as it failed to escape Earth's low orbit.
After decades of orbiting around the Earth, the probe might finally fall back on the surface of the Earth. Previously, it was estimated to fall back in 2025, but a new look at the space probe reveals it might arrive soon this year.
The Kosmos 482 was operated by the Soviet Academy of Sciences and was made to endure the extreme pressure in space. Experts have claimed that the probe will survive the Earth's atmosphere, but there's no certain timeline of when the crash landing will happen.
The component stuck in Earth's low orbit is the probe's entry capsule which was built to take on the intense heat and pressure. Satellite watcher Thomas Dorman expects the probe to fall back to Earth sometime by mid-2020.
He told Space.com that "predicting its decay is as much of an art [as] it is science. The other issue is, nobody can forecast solar activity for the next year, which could affect the decay time."
There's no certainty on the landing time, and it could a few more years before the probe returns to the surface of the Earth. The biggest question remains where the Soviet probe will land after its re-entry into our planet's atmosphere.