The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that NASA’s Earth Radiation Budget Satellite fell out of orbit on Sunday, with most of the satellite burning over the Bering Straight.
NASA said the retired satellite reentered Earth’s atmosphere around 11 p.m. Sunday. It is possible some pieces of the satellite made it all the way to the ground.
The satellite monitored how “Earth absorbed and radiated energy from the Sun, and made measurements of stratospheric ozone, water vapor, nitrogen dioxide, and aerosols.”
The satellite launched in 1984 and initially had a mission life of two years. It remained functional through 2005.
“Its observations helped researchers measure the effects of human activities on Earth’s radiation balance. NASA has continued to build on the success of the ERBE mission with projects including the current Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) suite of satellite instruments,” NASA said.