Published: Tue, April 03, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Chinese space station expected to crash back to Earth this weekend

Chinese space station expected to crash back to Earth this weekend

A Chinese space station hurtling towards Earth is expected to re-enter the atmosphere between 11pm tonight and 5am tomorrow, a Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist has said. "In general, it is much easier to predict an accurate reentry time rather than an accurate reentry location", aerospace.org reported.

The Tiangong-1 reentry time has been updated by the Aerospace Company to occur around 7:30 p.m.

According to the Aerospace Corporation, Tiangong-1 could land anywhere from northern California to Pennsylvania, including the southern peninsula of MI.

The space craft's descent is now being tracked by Aerospace engineering and the ESA - and say it is now dropping out of orbit by about 2.5 miles a day.

The Chinese lost communication with the space station in 2016, meaning the reentry can not be controlled.

Scientists have emphasized the danger of being hit by falling debris is tiny, as low as one in 1 trillion, as the structure is likely to burn up in the atmosphere during reentry.

The Chinese space station flies over land and sea from 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, which rules out re-entry over the United Kingdom and much of Europe. All matter thought to have come from the space station should therefore be considered hazardous, and anyone who suspects they have encountered some should call 911 and maintain a safe distance of at least 150 feet (46 metres).

The Space Agency notes the spacecraft could hit the Earth anywhere within a large band of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south of the equator.

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Chances of the Tiangong-1 hitting someone on Earth is microscopic.

A defunct space laboratory that will plunge back to Earth in the coming days is unlikely to cause any damage, Chinese authorities say, but will offer instead a "splendid" show akin to a meteor shower.

Thirteen space agencies, under the leadership of the European Space Agency, have been using radar and optical observations to follow its path around the globe, modelling its behaviour.

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.

China has predicted most of its debris will fall in the ocean as it breaks up on descent.

In March 2016, an official Chinese statement said Tiangong-1 had terminated its data service.

Its mission was part of a multi-billion-dollar space programme to put a permanent manned space station into service around 2022, according to the CMSEO.

The "Heavenly Palace" space station was China's first as the country bulked up its space program.

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