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Northern Virginia in the risk area for falling space station



While sounding like an April Fool's joke, this really happens: A space station the size of a bus is falling from the sky and it is expected that parts of it that will not burn on re-entering Earth on Sunday, April 1st or take a few days. A map of Aerospace predicts the most likely locations for China's Tiangong-1 space lab, including most parts of Maryland, almost all of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is expected to fall to earth between March 30 and April 6, depending on which scientist you are asking. And while the likelihood of being hit by space debris in northern Virginia is quite low, it has happened at least one other time in the US

Tiangong-1

, China's first space station and experimental space laboratory, was launched in September 2011. Originally, the disposal plan should have a controlled reentry for the station. Local people would control the engines of the aircraft and slow down its descent considerably.

"The engines would have been fired at a certain moment, so it would re-enter the atmosphere and burn in a large, uninhabited region of the South Pacific," said the European Space Agency in a blog post. "Any surviving pieces would fall into the ocean, far away from any populated areas."

But that's not what's going to happen this weekend. (For more news like this, find your local patch here.) If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app, download the free Patch Android app here.)

Heard in March 2016 Space Station to Work (19459004) "It is therefore expected that an 'uncontrolled reentry' will take place," says ESA.

And some pieces are likely to re-enter through this fire, though no one knows exactly where they will land.

The organization Aerospace Corp. has created a map of the most likely places where the debris could land. The analysis shows that the station will be located between 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South, which includes Northern California and parts of Illinois as well as parts of Southern Europe, China and Japan.

Other states in "high risk" areas include most of Maryland and parts of Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Boston, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire

Until hours before reentry it will not be possible to specify a more exact location, but the quotas, the Being struck by a piece of the space station is exceptionally low: gaining about 1 million times less than a Powerball jackpot – and if you live in one of the high-risk areas, Aerospace Corp. estimates.
[19659002] The organization says the odds are less than 1 to 1 trillion. And the ESA estimates that it is even smaller: 1 in 300 trillion.

Andrew Abraham, a senior member of Aerospace Corp.'s technical staff, tells NBC News that the debris is more likely to fall into the ocean or a piece of uninhabited land

But chances are that low. Lottie Williams may know that better than anyone else.

Williams is the only person known to have been hit by falling space debris. In 1997, she walked through a park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when she and her friends saw a fireball in the sky. Half an hour later she felt a strange knock on her shoulder. She also heard something else fall to the ground. It was a piece of the Delta II rocket.

"The weight was comparable to an empty soda can," she told Fox News. "It looked like a piece of cloth, except when you knocked on it, it sounded metallic."

Two decades earlier, in July 1979, Americans watched the sky in awe as Skylab, America's first manned space station, fell to earth. While some feared being hit by space debris, others celebrated and made it a commercial opportunity. There were several Skylab parties and a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina calling itself an official crash zone with a painted finish.

Although Tiangong-1 is likely to cause less sensation, people in the sky might see some streaks. The time of reentry depends on how close they are to the path of the debris.

If part of the Tiangong-1 falls on your property, it could even be dangerous to your health. If you see any debris, you should contact the local authorities.

Here you can see the exact location of the satellite.

Patch reporter Dan Hampton has contributed to this report.

Credit: Lintao Zhang / Getty Images

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