Sci-tech

Chinese space station to crash to Earth soon

Chinese space station to crash to Earth soon

The highest-probability zones are also as they were in January: northern U.S. states, a chunk of southern Europe into western Asia, China, and the two Koreas (great), or south of the equator, Argentina, Chile, Tasmania in Australia, or New Zealand.

The Long March II-F rocket carrying China's Tiangong-1 lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province September 29, 2011.

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.

America's Aerospace Corporation predicts it will re-enter the atmosphere in the first week of April, while the European Space Agency predicts re-entry between 24 March and 19 April, the Guardian reports.

A rogue Chinese space station is hurtling through space on a collision course with Earth.

Most of the spacecraft is expected to combust as it gets closer to Earth (it enters the atmosphere so fast that it compresses the air in front of it, heating it up and causing it to burn) but heavier parts of the craft, denser things parts of an engine or batteries, are likely to survive the impact of re-entry with pieces as heavy as 100kg hitting the Earth.

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

According to the report, Tiangong-1 is expected to re-enter the Earth somewhere between 43-degrees north and 43-degrees south latitudes.

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However, it added, "The probability that a person will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot".

Earlier in 2016, China had admitted that it had lost control of Tiangong-1, which is now hurtling towards the Earth in an uncontrolled re-entry. "But we will only know where they are going to land after the fact".

Lottie Williams from Tulsa, Oklahoma, has the dubious honor of being the only known person ever hit by a piece of space junk.

Aerospace warned that the space station might be carrying a highly toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board.

According to Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, Tiangong-1's descent has been speeding up. China still hasn't said when they lost control of the space station.

Besides Tiangong-1, there have been other crash-landings, such as NASA's 77-tonne Skylab in 1979 and the Soviet Union's 20-tonne Salyut 7 space station in 1991.

Larger space stations have crashed into our planet previously without anyone being injured by the debris.

The Chinese module was used for both manned and unmanned missions and visited by China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang, in 2012.


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