Chinese Space Station To Hit Earth: Where Will It Fall?

Alicia Farmer
March 10, 2018

CHINA'S first space station with "highly toxic" chemicals on board is expected to crash down to Earth within weeks - but experts can not say where the 8.5 tonne spacecraft will hit. TIME notes that Tiangong-1 is small when it comes to space stations, and that NASA made its own uncontrolled space station entry back into Earth in 1979 with its much larger 77-ton NASA SkyLab.

European Space Agency is tracking the movement, and its latest info predicts the probability between the period of March 24 and April 19.

The Tiangong-1 or Heavenly Palace lab was launched in 2011 and described as a "potent political symbol" of China - part of a scientific push to become a space superpower.

A Chinese space station, which is now hurtling out-of-control through space, could impact the Earth within 21 days and New Zealand may be in the firing line.

The statement from Aerospace said there was "a chance that a small amount of debris" from the module will survive re-entry and hit the Earth.

That's right, an error of one-hour in predicting the time of the space station's re-entry into our atmosphere could cause a 17,000-mile difference in where it was predicted to enter.

The statement said the module is expected to re-enter somewhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south latitudes.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University and space industry enthusiast, told The Guardian: "Every couple of years something like this happens, but Tiangong-1 is big and dense so we need to keep an eye on it".

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It was now falling at about 6km a week, compared to 1.5km in October.

With more than 2000 satellites in space and more alarmingly more than 500,000 pieces of debris, or "space junk", floating about above our heads, even these slim odds appear something of a concern to us down here below.

However, Aerospace insisted the chance of debris hitting anyone living in these nations was tiny.

In 2013, discontinued operation of the station, and in 2016 over her lost control.

"I would guess that a few pieces will survive re-entry".

Only one person has ever been struck by space debris - a woman who was not seriously injured. There are vast areas of North and South America, China, the Middle East, Australia, and parts of Europe where the Chinese space station could scatter debris - but there's also the possibility that it will make a crash landing into the ocean.

Things go wrong in space and we must accept that.

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