A Chinese space lab, Tiangong-1, is plummeting towards Earth. It is set to land on Earth “somewhere” between the end of March or beginning of April. It is still unclear where “exactly” it will land.
Earlier last year scientists from the Chinese National Space Agency (CNSA) confessed that they lost control of the 19,000 lb. space lab pushing it into an unknown trajectory. Here is what happened and how the CNSA responded:
“The CNSA’s announcement vaguely stated that they would no longer be communicating with the space station, but what they really meant was that they are not able to communicate with (and thus control) the space station due to a malfunction. They essentially chose to attempt to save face and announce that they retired Tiangong 1 rather than admit they lost control of the space station,” states David Stark, a writer from Inspiring Day, covering the story last year.
To help ease our pain and worry, scientist say the chances of being hit are very, very, very small. The Aerospace Corporation states, “When considering the worst-case location (yellow regions of the map) the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.”
Still, I am not too excited by the fact that by the time it re-enters our atmosphere it will still weigh a little under half its size. Dr. William Ailor, an engineer at the Aerospace Corporation, told NPR, “‘Somewhere between, say, 2,000 and 8,000 pounds might come down.’” No big deal...really.
Scientists still persist that there probably isn’t much to worry about, though. Only one person has ever been hit by something falling out of space—and even then, no one was killed. TIME said that Ms. Lottie, the person hit by the space object, was “brushed on the shoulder in 1997 and not injured,”
Given all the facts, I’m still a little nervous. I mean did you see where the “worst case” location was?
What do you think about this little 19,000-pound nugget of information? Are you packing your bags or staying put? Let us know in the comments section on Facebook.
In other news, a famous 1980s star just died after a 35-year coma. Did you know about this?