Tiangong-1 Space Station To Fall To Earth Within A Week

Out-of-control Chinese spacecraft tumbling toward Earth this weekend	 	 	 			Computer-generated rendering of Tiangong 1 in orbit

Don't worry. According to space debris experts, the chances that you personally will be hit by of a chunk of space metal are essentially zero - less than one in a trillion.

Experts say it's extremely unlikely that large pieces of the schoolbus-sized Tiangong-1 will survive re-entry through the atmosphere, much less that any of these pieces would land on a populated area.

The European Space Agency is providing re-entry updates every day or two on its blog, including on the lab's potential landing zone, its altitude changes, and the re-entry window, which the agency now puts between March 30 and April 2. Tiangong-1 is unable to make those adjustments.

Speeding around our planet at about four miles per second, the uncrewed spacecraft is in a decaying orbit and out of control, tumbling through the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere.

"The original intention was to control its descent, but I believe sometime mid-last year, it actually stopped responding". He has been tracking the 18,000-pound space station since 2016.

The likelihood of debris from the defunct space station hitting Italy is 0.2 percent, the agency (ASI) said on Monday after a meeting with the Civil Protection Department, which helps prepare for and manage disasters.

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The space lab will fall back to Earth on its own, pulled down by the atmospheric drag.

Only one person in history was hit by space debris falling to Earth. However, the space station will re-enter somewhere between the latitudes of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, based on its current orbital inclination.

A report by The Aerospace Corporation does highlight specific regions of the world that are more likely to see Tiangong-1's fiery demise, though.

The 9.4-ton (8.5 metric tons) Tiangong-1 is about 34 feet long by 11 feet wide (10.4 by 3.4 meters) and features 530 cubic feet (15 cubic m) of habitable internal volume. Back in 1979, NASA tried to crash the approximately 81-ton (73 metric tons) Skylab space stationinto the ocean but missed wildly, with much of the debris winding up outside Perth, Australia.

Future spacecraft will also be "designed for demise" upon reentry. That compares with a one-in-1.4 million chance of a person in the USA being struck by lightning. "So just by putting it into space and returning it to Earth, it's still the property of the Chinese". "For your safety, do not touch any debris you may find on the ground nor inhale vapors it may emit".

China's prototype eight-tonne spacecraft Tiangong-1 is likely to crash on Earth this week or by the first week of April.

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