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Home / Science / Tiangong-1 will now land on Earth at 19:30 ET Sunday, or predicted up to seven hours

Tiangong-1 will now land on Earth at 19:30 ET Sunday, or predicted up to seven hours



An undated photo of Chinese technicians working on Tiangong-1
Photo: AP

Predictions from the Space Debris Office of the European Space Agency and the US Aerospace Corp. predict that China's falling space station, the Tiangong -1, is likely to fall to Earth on Sunday night around 7:30 pm ET.

The vehicle was originally probably crashed on Saturday. According to Space.com, the final reentry time estimates for the failing station still vary significantly, but ESA officials have withdrawn their previous assessment of Tiangong-1 after observed solar phenomena did not accelerate the rate of descent. This is how they described their findings in a blog post:

A high-speed beam of particles from the Sun expected to reach Earth and affect the planet's geomagnetic field not It is to be expected that in the next few days a calmer space weather around the earth and its atmosphere is expected.

This means that the density of the upper atmosphere through which Tiangong-1 moves does not As predicted (which would have stalled the spacecraft earlier), the ESA Space Debris Office has the predicted rate of decline customized.

Although Aerospace Corp. As the tracks with the ESA estimate, both groups set a wide window around the 7 (19659006) The falling station has not caused a shortage of alarm, but the risk that it will hit a crowded spot is raised by Aerospace Corp. Predicted that they could be up to seven hours away from the estimate in each direction per Space.com range, let alone every actual human remains infinitely small. As Gizmodo writer Ryan F. Mandelbaum noted on Thursday, Taigong-1 is relatively small at £ 18,750, while ships as tall as the 152,000-pound Skylab make uncontrolled drops into the Earth's atmosphere with few problems and no reported deaths

The area where Tiangong-1 might collapse is highlighted in green.
Graphic: European Space Agency (Space.com)

In fact, there are no confirmed deaths from human space debris – and given Earth's huge surface area, Aerospace Corp. estimates the probability that an individual will be injured by space debris, anywhere in the order of a trillion. Pro Space.com, the astrophysicist at Harvard University, Jonathan McDowell, predicts that only 220-440 pounds of Tiangong-1 will return to the ground or into the oceans. The biggest risk of this remnant is likely someone could discover the debris and contaminate with hydrazine, an exceptionally toxic rocket fuel.

This means that the most likely effect for anyone near the crash site is actually a fantastic view. According to Guardian head of the ESA Space Debris Office, Holger Krag says that "when Tiangong-1 goes down about 62 miles, it will decelerate completely within a few minutes, transforming the energy into heat and aerodynamics will force it to rip "in a fallout zone that could extend over 600 miles.

"If you're in the right place at the right time and the sky is clear, it will be pretty spectacular," added Krag. "It will be visible to the naked eye even in daylight and look like a slow-moving star splitting into a few shooting stars, and you might even see a smoke trail."

[Space.com]


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