In 2009 the European Space Agency, with the help of a Russian booster rocket, launched a 2,000 pound scientific satellite into orbit. The satellite, dubbed GOCE (for Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) was designed to help scientists here on earth study, well, gravity and such, I'm guessing.
Four years later, GOCE's Duracells finally gave up the ghost, and with each orbit it learned its own little bit of something about gravity as it slipped closer and closer to the planet. As it became evident the satellite was going to crash back home, three things started happening. First ESA mathematicians pulled out their slide rules, did a few quick calculations, and determined the satellite would hit the atmosphere (and shortly thereafter the surface) sometime between Sunday night and Monday afternoon. Given the number of variables and the GOCE's wide-ranging trajectory, it was impossible to pinpoint it any more specifically than that. Likewise, they could make no real guesses as to where exactly it would come down. It could be any damn place, honestly. With that sorry admission from the ESA, London bookmakers went into high gear, taking bets on where exactly it would hit (as of Saturday afternoon, odds stood at 6:4 it would hit in the Americas, 2:1 in China or Russia, 5:1 in Africa, and all bets were off should it land in the ocean). And while all this was going on, the Russian government started to sweat.