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China's first space station will soon fall out of space



  China's first space station will soon fall out of space

Illustration of Chinese 8-ton space laboratory Tiangong-1

Credit: CMSE

A Chinese space station will uncontrollably fall out of space, and now, tracker know when. Art.

Since at least 201

6, satellite trackers have been speculating on the likelihood that China's Tiangong-1 space laboratory will crash into the Earth's atmosphere. The lab was China's first prototype of a space habitat, the site of the country's first orbital docking and long-term space stays. But, started in 2011, it has long since reached the end of its operational life, and China does not seem to have any plans to put it into orbit.

More recently, Tiangong's fiery re-entry has been much more immediate. But predicting exactly when the 8-ton vehicle would fall on the ground is a difficult challenge: it was only on 2 March that the European Space Agency (ESA) was unable to take a closer look at the date of re-entry. Sometime between 24 March and April 19th. But now trackers are becoming much more specific: the lab should fall to earth within a few days of the end of March.

Marco Langbroek, an archaeologist who has made a second career out of tracking satellites, predicted today (March 20) that the space station will ship within three days March 31 will be back in the atmosphere. March 17) that reentry will take place between March 30 and April 6.

Knowing when the reentry will take place is only half the story. The space station moves too fast and is too uncontrolled to prevent trackers from entering where they penetrate more into the atmosphere than anywhere between 43 degrees north latitude and 43 degrees south latitude. This is an area that includes Boston and Beijing, but also Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Brisbane, Australia. (Not to mention a whole lot of sea.) Most of the populated world falls into the possible reentry zone.

"At no time will an accurate time / place prediction be possible from the ESA," explained ESA. [19659013] A picture of the ESA shows the region where Tiangong-1 is expected to re-enter. “/>

A picture of the ESA shows the region where Tiangong-1 is expected to re-enter.

Credit: ESA

However, you do not have to worry about being hit by falling Chinese space debris.

As the ESA says, "the personal chance of being hit by a piece of Tiangong-1 debris is actually 10 million times less than the annual chance of being struck by lightning."

Whatever happens in The atmosphere does not dissolve, it is vanishingly small to hurt anyone – not to mention you or anyone you know – given the sheer vastness of uninhabited space the planet.

Originally published on Live Science.


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