DETROIT – Southern Michigan is listed in a region of the world that has the highest probability that debris will land on a free-falling Chinese space station.
The Space Disbris Office of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Darmstadt, Germany, which published the Tiangong-1 forecast, said the window March 30 to April 2 was "highly variable" and It will not be possible to determine exactly where the space station will fall to earth.
The organization identified specific areas of the planet where debris could fall from the space station. Part of southern Michigan is included in the northern "yellow ribbon" region, which has a "higher probability" of encountering debris from the Chinese spacecraft.
Gov. Rick Snyder has activated the country's Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) to monitor the re-entry of the Chinese Tiangong-1
"While chances are low that some of the debris will end up in Michigan, we are watching the situation and are ready to respond quickly," Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and Commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP / EMSHD). "The state will rely on its existing satellite reentry response and recovery plan for necessary response protocols."
Debris could contain hydrazine, which is a highly toxic and corrosive substance. Any suspected space debris should be considered dangerous. Anyone who suspects that they have hit debris from the space station should report this by calling 911 and being at least 150 feet away.
There is a possibility that a small amount of Tiangong-1 debris can survive the re-entry and attack the ground. If that happens, any surviving debris would fall into a region several hundred kilometers across, at a point on the earth the station overflies. The following map shows the relative probabilities of debris landings in a particular region. Yellow indicates locations that are more likely, while green indicates areas of lesser probability. Blue areas are unlikely to re-enter debris as Tiangong-1 does not fly over these areas (north of 42.7 ° North latitude or south of 42.7 ° North latitude). These zero probability ranges account for about one third of the total surface area of the earth.
Aerospace Corporation says the likelihood that a person will actually be hit by these debris is "about one million times smaller than the likelihood of winning the Powerball jackpot."
This space station is China's first. It was launched in September 2011 and should take about two years. On March 21, 2016, China said it had finished its "data service" with Tiangong-1, so it could eventually fall back to earth. Aerospace Corporation says "amateur radio tracks are tracking Tiangong-1, claiming it has been orbiting unchecked since at least June 2016."
And now we expect his return to earth. It weighs 18,740 pounds (about 8 tons) and is about 34 feet long and 11 feet wide. There are also two solar panels.
Here in southeastern Michigan we just had a heavenly encounter with a meteor. On January 16, 2018, the Michanders reported a loud boom, a bright flash of light and an earthquake. The "bolide" fireball caused a magnitude 2.0 earthquake, according to the National Weather Service at Metro Detroit.
Since then, people have been searching for and searching for meteorite pieces in the region. You can bet that this will happen even after the return of the Chinese space station to Earth's atmosphere.
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