Monday, 16 July, 2018

Earthlings Beware: China's Space Station Will Crash Back to Earth on Easter

Cover Your Head: China's First Space Lab Is About To Fall To Earth Chinese satellite due to crash on Earth around April 1
| 27 March, 2018, 18:50

The likelihood of debris from the defunct space station hitting Italy is 0.2 percent, the agency (ASI) said on Monday after a meeting with the Civil Protection Department, which helps prepare for and manage disasters. But no one knows for sure.

The latest estimate for re-entry is between 30 March and 2 April.

The shape of China's falling space station Tiangong-1 can be seen in this radar image from the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques near Bonn, Germany. "There's still a fair amount of uncertainty".

Aerospace Corporation's Tiangong-1 re-entry dashboard.

Tiangong-1 has officially stopped sending data and has entered its final phase of life on 16 March, a statement issued on 26 March by the China Manned Space Engineering Office said.

However, China's secrecy around the space mission is making it hard for experts to properly assess the risks involved in the fiery descent.

In a 2017 update to the United Nations, China said Tiangong-1 had "ceased functioning".


The station was the first built and launched by China in 2011.

Tinagong-1's orbit has always been decaying - meaning that Earth's gravity draws it a bit closer with each orbit it makes around our planet.

Only one person has ever been hit by space debris. "Based on Tiangong-1's inclination, however, we can confidently say that this object will reenter somewhere between 43° North and 43° South latitudes". It will be impossible to narrow down the location until a couple of hours prior to reentry.

On its southern band, the debris could fall on cities in Argentina and New Zealand, although the vast majority of the potential surface where debris could land are covered by ocean. Mr Aboutanios said if that happens during night time over a populated area it "will most certainly be visible, like a meteor or a shooting star".

The New York Times reported that according to space debris experts, the chances that you personally will be hit by of a chunk of space metal are essentially zero - less than one in a trillion. Williams was struck on the shoulder by a small piece of a rocket's fuel tank in 1997 while out for a walk.

It's the debris you need to be looking out for.

"The friction caused by the Earth's atmosphere on its re-entry will mean that the satellite will get destroyed, but there is a good chance that some parts will survive re-entry and fall towards the earth".

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