BEIJING • A runaway space lab that will crash on Earth in the next few days will probably do no harm, according to the Chinese authorities, but instead offer a "great" show similar to a meteor shower.
China's space agency said on Thursday that the nearly eight-ton Tiangong-1 will return to the atmosphere sometime between today and Monday. The European Space Agency (ESA) gave a smaller window – between today noon and early in the morning, GMT time.
There is "no need to worry," said the China Maned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) on its WeChat social media account. Such falling spacecraft "do not bounce violently to Earth, as in science fiction movies, but turn into a magnificent (meteor shower) and move across the beautiful starry sky as they head toward Earth," it said in September 201
China sees its billion-dollar space program as a symbol of the country's rise. It plans to send a manned mission to the Moon in the future. China sent another laboratory, the Tiangong-2, into orbit in September 2016, hoping to convert it into a manned space station by 2022.
Experts have dismissed concerns over the damage suffered by Tiangong-1 as it flies back to Earth According to the ESA, in September 2011, nearly 6,000 uncontrolled re-entries of large-scale rockets were made by the Tiangong-1 from its launch center Gansu, China, fired. China's space agency said the space laboratory will stand still in March 2016, will re-enter the atmosphere between today and Monday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE PRESS
Jects have sprung up in the last 60 years without hurting anyone.
The CMSEO said that the probability of being hit by a meteorite of over 200g is one in 700 million
The uncontrolled re-entry of air, the air resistance, will demolish solar panels, antennas and other external components at about 100 km altitude, according to the Chinese Space Agency. The increasing heat and friction would cause the main structure to burn or explode, and it should dissolve at a height of about 80 km, it is said.
Most fragments will dissolve in the air, and a small amount of debris will fall relatively slowly before landing, most likely in the ocean, which covers more than 70 percent of the earth's surface.
Dr. Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said: "Much larger things have no losses crushed, this thing is like a small plane crash."
The descending spacecraft left one yesterday morning at 3:19 am Strip over the Malaysian sky for 81 seconds. Tiangong-1 altitude has been estimated to have dropped to 182.407 km over the course of 182.462 km, according to the Malaysian space agency Angkasa's reentry forecast
AGENCE FRANCE PRESS