Chinese space station is predicted to smash into Earth over Easter
Mar 28, 2018, 00:35
But the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee calculates the odds of a person being hit by whatever is not burned up during re-entry to be 10 million times less than the chance of a person being hit by lightning.
Experts say it's extremely unlikely that large pieces of the schoolbus-sized Tiangong-1 will survive re-entry through the atmosphere, much less that any of these pieces would land on a populated area.
Predicting exactly where any impact locations could occur is beyond astronomer's current technical capabilities, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).
Tiangong-1 is a satellite laboratory that contains large amounts of hydrazine, a toxic, flammable chemical that can wreak havoc on the human body, including poisoning the blood, kidneys, lungs, the central nervous system, and damage to eyes, nose, mouth, and respiration.
Speeding around our planet at about four miles per second, the uncrewed spacecraft is in a decaying orbit and out of control, tumbling through the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere.
It is thought that the Tiangong-1, which officially terminated its data communications with ground control on March 16, may fall and crash to the ground or hit the sea between 43 degrees north and south of the equator at an unknown longitude. He has been tracking the 18,000-pound space station since 2016.
The Tiangong-1 space station was launched into orbit on September 29, 2011, as a test platform for the future of China's space program.
Some debris from the Tiangong-1 - or "Heavenly Palace" - spacelab will likely fall into the ocean or somewhere on land, but the chances of human injury are vanishingly small, said Stijn Lemmens, an ESA space debris expert based in Darmstadt, Germany.
But, it's also worth noting that Tiangong-1 itself is just a fraction of the size of other objects that have fallen (controlled or uncontrolled) to Earth.
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