At the beginning of the spring, the nine-ton Chinese Space Station will collapse on Earth. But specialists claim that the object will not pose a danger to humans.
Tiangong-1 will collapse on Earth in mid-March, according to an analysis by the Aerospace Corporation in California. According to NY Times no one will be hurt.
“Probably will not cause damage” said Andrew Abraham, a member of the team that carried out the analysis. “The possibility of a person being hit by a piece of the space station is extremely small”, he adds.
Although specialists are sure people will not be hit by the ship’s pieces, predicting the exact place where it will collapse is limited. When an object in space returns to the atmosphere, the place where it collapses is influenced by several factors, including atmospheric density, object speed, orientation, and physical properties, experts write. Also, time dictates where the object falls. “If half an hour has passed you are already on the other side of the planet”, says Ted Muelhaupt, a member of the Aerospace team.
The space station is most likely to land in two areas around the globe, experts say. One of the regions is located in the southern hemisphere, where Tazmania and New Zealand are located, and two in the north, through the USA, Asia and Europe.
When entering Earth’s atmosphere, the object reaches 1,640 degrees Celsius, which leads to the melting of a part of the object, so on earth reaches a small part of the station.
Tiangong-1 was launched in 2011 and is described as a “China’s potential political symbol”, part of an ambitious Chinese plan to delimit itself as a space superpower. The ship was used for both crew and non-astronaut missions on board. At the same time, in 2012, it was visited by China’s first astronaut woman, Liu Yang.
In 2016, as a result of speculation, Chinese officials confirmed that they lost control of the space station and that it would collapse on Earth.