Half the world warned 'Chinese space station will fall on you '

08 March, 2018, 01:39 | Author: Becky Perry
  • European Space Agency

The expected crashing sites are northern China, central Italy, northern Spain, the Middle East, northern parts of the US, Tasmania, some parts of South America, New Zealand and southern Africa.

The Tiangong-1 was launched in September 2011, with a lifespan of two years. The country's first space station was referred to as the "Heavenly Palace", which was used for both manned and unmanned missions, and it was described as a "potent political symbol" of China.

The science of where the station will hit is notoriously inexact because small changes in "space weather" - the effect on the Earth's atmosphere of flares of electromagnetic radiation and charged particles travelling as solar wind - can shift its trajectory drastically.

The countdown has now begun for the Tiangong-1's final plummet back to Earth, which will occur on April 3, plus or minus a week's time, according to an estimate released today by the Aerospace Corporation. "ESA is hoping to fly European astronauts on the Chinese space station in the future, and there's been an Italian and a German astronaut who have trained in China recently".

The statement from Aerospace, a research organisation that advises the U.S. government and private enterprise on space flight, said there was "a chance that a small amount of debris" from the module will survive re-entry and hit the Earth.

"If this should happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size", said Aerospace, a research organisation that advises government and private enterprise on space flight.

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"When considering the worst-case location the probability that a specific person will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot", states the report.

Most pieces of space junk burn up on re-entry, but because of its size, pieces of Tiangong-1 might reach the ground.

Scientists also haven't been able to narrow down the crash zone, which is predicted to be between the 43-degree North and 43-degree South latitudes.

"Even a couple of days before it re-enters we probably won't know better than six or seven hours, plus or minus, when it's going to come down", Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told The Guardian in 2016.

In the history of spaceflight, no known person has ever been harmed by re-entering space debris. As per the reports, Tiangong-1 carries a highly toxic and corrosive fuel named Hydrazine. China still hasn't said when they lost control of the space station. Only one person has ever been recorded as being hit by a piece of space debri and, fortunately, she was not injured. Before that, in 1991, the last uncontrolled return was Salyut 7 - or Cosmos 1686 - weighing 40 tonnes. In 1979, NASA's uncontrolled 77-tonnes Skylab crashed the earth and some large pieces of its debris landed outside Perth in Western Australia.

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