Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Out of control: the Earth will collapse toxic space station

Out of control: the Earth will collapse toxic space station Out of control: the Earth will collapse toxic space station
Theresa Hayes | 10 March, 2018, 23:54

China's first prototype station, Tiangong-1, will come crashing back to the planet between March 29 and April 9, experts say.

According to its analysis of orbital elements gathered during the last months, the re-enter may occur in March (20 per cent), in April (60 per cent) or in May 2018 (20 per cent). Some fragments could survive the fiery reentry, but experts say the risk to humans on the ground is small.

The California-based Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit group that works with the United States government, said Tiangong-1's re-entry was unlikely to be controlled but it was highly unlikely to hit people or damage property, according to a post on its website last updated on Jan 3.

'Only one person has ever been recorded as being hit by a piece of space debris and, fortunately, she was not injured'.

However, Aerospace insisted the chance of debris hitting anyone living in these nations was tiny.

"It's challenging to predict the time of reentry, and even more challenging to get the location", Abraham said.

According to Aerospace Corporation's latest prediction, the craft is likely to re-enter along two narrow bands at 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south latitude, putting parts of China, southern Europe, the northern US, as well as parts of South America, Tasmania and New Zealand in its likely path. The first space station of China called "Tiangong-1", which is out of control, after 21 days will fall to the ground. "As an object comes into Earth's orbit, its movement will be highly erratic, unlike those in space where their movements can be calculated more accurately", said Mr Anond.

It was now falling at about 6km a week, compared to 1.5km in October. Though its imminent re-entry wasn't necessarily planned, the station already had exceeded its expected lifespan when China announced its descent to Earth in 2016.

The Tiangong-1 or Heavenly Palace lab was launched in 2011 and described as a "potent political symbol" of China, reports the Guardian. While the launch of the Chinese space station made China the third nation to operate their own space station after the United States and Russian Federation, they're now dealing with the embarrassing fallout as it plummets back down to Earth. But Ailor challenged that assertion, saying it's more likely that Tiangong-1 will make an uncontrolled reentry.

"Normally, when a spacecraft goes through the earth's atmosphere, the substance will be burned away, except when the structures are very large", he said.

Much of the spacecraft is expected to burn up in the atmosphere upon re-entry.

Authorities have been closely watching Tiangong-1 and trying to determine where and when it will collide with Earth. There may be hazardous material on board that could survive re-entry, it said. "It's a Chinese satellite so we don't totally know what's going on, but as far as we can tell, 2015 was the last time the Chinese government ever sent a control to it", Cambridge astronomer Matt Bothwell tells Phoebe Braithwaite at Wired.