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Later this week, all eyes will be fixed on the sky in anticipation of the 150-ton space station's return to earth.
Taco Bell has created a 40 by 40-foot target, painted with a Bell bull's-eye and bold purple letters stating: "Free Taco Here.'' The floating target will be placed in the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia in advance of Mir's descent.
"Taco Bell is capturing the imagination of millions of people as they eagerly await Mir's return to earth,'' said Chris Becker, vice president of brand communications, Taco Bell Corp. "If Mir rings our bell, we will offer a free taco to everyone in the U.S.,'' added Becker.
"If the core of Mir hits the designated Taco Bell target upon its re-entry, every person in the United States will have an opportunity to obtain a coupon for a free taco, valid at participating Taco Bell restaurants.
Coupon distribution, redemption and offer details will be made available to consumers on the Taco Bell Web site and in press materials should this event occur. Taco Bell has purchased an insurance policy to cover the anticipated cost of the free taco redemption should the core of Mir hit the target.
Mir is the biggest object ever to be brought back to Earth and its re-entry is considered one of the most extraordinary celestial events in history. The 15-year-old space station is expected to pass over Japan before plummeting into the South Pacific, where the Taco Bell floating target awaits its descent.
A minute-by-minute countdown of Mir's descent and a photo of this floating target can be seen at www.tacobell.com.