The current estimated #Tiangong1 reentry window is ~29 March to ~9 April; this is highly variable. Forecast provide by the @esaoperations #SpaceDebris office.— ESA (@esa) March 6, 2018
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China’s first space stationTiangong-1 might crash into Earth in the coming weeks. The out-of-control space station, which is steadily moving towards the planet, will likely explode over in blazing rubble.
The Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit space research company, posted their latest research on the impending spacecraft’s doom. According to the reports, considering the velocity of Tiangong-1 and other factors, like expected solar storms from the sun, the debris from the space station is likely to crash down to Earth as early as April.
While extreme heat and pressure in space, as the dead spacecraft cuts through at more than 15,000 mph, would destroy the 8.5-ton vessel, it is huge possibility that not all of it will vanish. Some of the blistering wreckage is expected to land on Earth. The main reason for this is likely the onion like structure of the space ship, with several layers of protective material.
“The thing about a space station is that it's typically got things on the inside, "If you've got enough layers, a lot of the energy is gone before a particular object falls out, it doesn't get hot, and it lands on the ground," said Bill Ailor, an aerospace engineer who specializes in atmospheric re-entry.
Tiangong-1 is highly likely to crash over the ocean as water covers most of the planet. However, there is still some uncertainty if the instruments from inside the space shuttle can crash on land.
Despite its current descend towards Earth, space experts consider this a pioneering triumph for China as it mapped out the nation on the space orbit.
In a memo submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, China claimed the trailblazing space craft “fully fulfilled its historic mission” before losing contact in March 2016. According to the Aerospace research data, the space station’s altitude plummeted to 155 mph by the end of February 2018.
When asked to predict, NASA stated “it doesn’t actually track any debris.”
According to The Aerospace Corp.'s website, the probability of Tiangong-1’s wreckage to land on the ground "is about 1 million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot."
"It's not impossible, but since the beginning of the space age ... a woman who was brushed on the shoulder in Oklahoma is the only one we're aware of who's been touched by a piece of space debris," Ailor said.
However, if any physical or material damage is caused by the dead spacecraft, International Space Law covers for them. According to a NASA representative, this law makes China responsible for reimbursement in case of any unfortunate incident.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Jason Lee, Reuters