China's first space station is expected to crash to earth within a few weeks, but scientists have not been able to predict where the 8.5-tonne module will land.
US-funded Aerospace Corporation estimates that Tiangong-1 will be operational again – enter the atmosphere in the first week of April, give or take a week. According to the European Space Agency, the module will fall between March 24 and April 1
In 2016, China admitted that it had lost control of Tiangong-1 and was unable to carry out a controlled re-entry.
Aerospace said there was "a chance that a small amount of debris" from the module would survive reentry and hit Earth.
"If that were to happen, all the surviving debris would fall into a region several hundred kilometers in size," said Aerospace, a research organization advising governments and private companies in the field of space
The space station could be a high carry toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board.
The report contains a map that shows that the module is expected to re-penetrate 43 ° north and 43 ° south latitude. Re-entry opportunities are slightly higher in northern China, the Middle East, central Italy, northern Spain and the northern states of the USA, New Zealand, Tasmania, parts of South America and southern Africa.
Aerospace, however, insisted that debris that hit every human living in these lands were tiny. "Considering the worst location … the likelihood that a particular person (ie, you) is hit by Tiangong-1 rubble is about one million times smaller than the likelihood of winning the Powerball jackpot." 19659009] "In the history of spaceflight, no known person was ever injured by reentry space debris. Only one person was ever hit by a wreckage of space and fortunately she was not injured.
Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard University astrophysicist and space enthusiast, sounded cautious, saying that fragments of a similarly sized rocket re-entered the atmosphere and landed in Peru in January. "Every few years, something like that happens but Tiangong-1 is big and tight, so we have to keep an eye on it, "he told the Guardian.
McDowell said that the descent of Tiangong-1 has accelerated in recent months and now fell by about 6km a week, compared to 1.5km in October. It was difficult to predict when the module would land, as its speed was affected by the ever-changing "weather" in space.
"Only in the last week can we begin to talk about it with more confidence," he said.
"I would expect some of the pieces to survive the reentry, but we will not know where they will end until after the fact."
The Tiangong-1 or Heavenly Palace Laboratory was launched in 2011 as Described as "China's potent political symbol" – part of a scientific push
It was used for both manned and unmanned missions and was visited by China's first female astronaut Liu Yang in 2012.
In 1991, the 20-ton spacecraft Salyut 7 of the Soviet Union crashed to Earth while docked to another 20-ton spaceship called the Cosmos 1686. They set out across Argentina and scattered debris over the city of Capitán Bermúdez.
The 77-ton Skylab space station of NASA raced in 1979 almost completely uncontrolled on the ground. with some big pieces that land outside of Perth in Western Australia.