After nearly four decades in space, a NASA satellite known as the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite (ERBS) has landed on the planet. Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space and an astronaut, launched the ERBS from the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1984.

It was a component of a mission to estimate Earth’s radiative energy budget, or the amount of energy the planet receives from the Sun. The energy budget can be better understood to provide scientists greater knowledge about climate change and weather patterns. The ozone and other elements in the stratosphere were studied using the satellite.

Despite having a two-year service life expectation, ERBS was still in use and operational as late as 2005. The 5,400 lb (2,449 kg) dead satellite has been circling the Earth ever since.

On Monday, ERBS reentered the atmosphere above the Bering Sea, according to the Department of Defense. According to NASA, some of the satellite’s parts will burn up during the course of the mission.

Other tech news includes the cute $359 USD petbot you need, Loona.


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