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Satellite likely to hit unpopulated area of Earth

BERLIN — The European Space Agency says that one of its research satellites that ran out of fuel will most likely crash to Earth into the ocean or polar regions.

The agency said Sunday the crash is expected to occur between 1830 GMT Sunday and 0030 GMT on Monday (1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. EST).

It says “with a very high probability, a re-entry over Europe can be excluded.”

Spokeswoman Jocelyne Landeau said the satellite, GOCE, will mostly disintegrate as it comes down and “we will have only a few pieces which could be 90 kilograms at the most.”

ESA said Friday that humans are 250,000 times more likely to win the lottery than to get hit by the debris.

GOCE was launched in 2009 to map the Earth’s gravitational field.

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