Tiangong-1 crash: This is where space lab is most likely to hit | Science | News


The massive eight tonne ‘space lab’ named Tiangong-1 vanished from China’s eyes in March 2016, and experts had failed to relocate it.

However, authorities have now tracked it down and predict that it will come hurtling back towards Earth before the end of this month.

Experts have been unable to pinpoint where the craft could land, but as it approaches Earth, there is a very realistic chance it could hit Michigan where almost 10 million people live.

According to Michigan website MLive says Lower Michigan falls “into the regions listed with the highest probability” of debris from Tiangong-1 hitting.

Other areas where debris could hit include northern China, central Italy, northern Spain, the Middle East, New Zealand, Tasmania, South America, southern Africa and northern states in the US, according to Aerospace, a technical and scientific research development website that assists NASA.

However, debris is not the only potential damage the crashing satellite could cause.

Tiangong-1 contains a rocket fuel known as hydrazine which, if humans are exposed to for long enough, can cause liver and nerve damage.

The Aerospace website reads: “There is a chance that a small amount of Tiangong-1 debris may survive re-entry and impact the ground.

“Should this happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometres in size and centred along a point on the Earth that the station passes over.”

The website does however attempt to minimise concerns.

It says: “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.

“In the history of spaceflight, no known person has ever been harmed by reentering space debris.

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

The satellite was launched in 2011 and had been designed to crash safely into the ocean.

However, as contact was lost, there is now no way to control where the satellite will crash.



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