Chinese space station falling toward earth, expected to hit Sunday

by Garry Watts April 1, 2018, 2:47
Chinese space station falling toward earth, expected to hit Sunday

First, know this: You're probably anxious about nothing.

The European Space Agency has a blog with re-entry updates for Tiangong-1.

The site Aerospace explains that the odds of being struck by Antigone-1 debris is "one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot".

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson today said it is unlikely any large parts will reach the ground.

China's out-of-control Tiangong 1 space station was reportedly captured on camera over Wellington last night as it's expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere sometime this weekend.

It is expected to land somewhere between 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south latitudes, which includes many populated areas, including the US, China, the Middle East, Africa and Australia, but rules out re-entry over the United Kingdom and much of Europe.

It may be possible to see the space station reentering the atmosphere, depending on your location, the time of day, and visibility.

Believe it or not, the space station was created to come down this way when it was launched in 2011.

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Tiangong-1 is believed to be the largest lump of space junk to fall to Earth so far this year but it is nowhere near a record-breaker.

Astronomers from the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy have captured an incredible image of the stricken Chinese space station Tiangong-1 as it makes its final descent towards Earth.

Going from the past satellite crashes, including NASA's 77-tonne Skylab in 1979 and the Soviet Union's 20-tonne Salyut 7 space station in 1991, there haven't been any casualties.

In case you had plans for tomorrow, maybe a roast or something, those plans could very well be interrupted a space station falling down on you and ruining your roast. Most calculations are expecting the pieces to fall in the ocean, but that's not a certainty.

However, experts say there is very low risk that any parts of Tiangong that do not burn up will hit a populated area. The only recorded person on Earth ever to be hit by falling debris from space was a woman named Lottie Williams in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1997.

The orbiting Tiangong-1 space station docking with China's Shenzhou-8 spacecraft in 2011.

The space station is expected to re-enter the atmosphere at about 10 a.m. EDT Sunday, plus or minus 16 hours.

That's all in the hope that when Tiangong-1 finally does fall, someone will see it, and Thompson will be able to match all those model estimates against what really happened.

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