T The reentry clock is ticking for the Tiangong-1. Updated predictions from scientists give a better idea of when and where the Chinese space station will return to Earth.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has updated its return forecast for the Tiangong-1. The forecast window has been moved to 19:25. Eastern on April 1 until the early morning of April 2. The reentry position will be somewhere between 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitudes, most likely across South West Europe. The agency expected that a new high current of solar particles would affect the planet's geomagnetic field, which would lead to a reentry window change, but that had no effect. But even with calm space weather, the forecast is likely to change.
"At no time will ESA's accurate time / location forecast be possible," the agency said on its website , "This forecast was updated about weekly until mid-March and is now updated every day."
China launched Tiangong-1, the "Heavenly Palace" in 2011. The unmanned space station was the beginning of the country's program to place a larger station in 2023. It was retired in March 2016 after three missions where spaceships docked with the station. The "palace" began its fall from "heaven" to earth as soon as China lost control.
For parts of the world, this Easter will include a cosmic light show in the night sky when the Tiangong-1 re-enters the Earth atmosphere. Most of the 19,000 pound station will burn if it falls to the ground while the rest is likely to land somewhere in the ocean.
There is a tiny chance that parts of the station will hit land. If this is the case, Aerospace Corporation has advised not to touch or inhale the fumes of the burned debris.
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