The news that China’s Tiangong-1 space station will be crashing into Earth has been making headlines for quite some time now. Researchers all across the globe have been trying to pinpoint the exact location where the out of control space station will crash as well as the date on which it will land on Earth.
European Space Agency (ESA) and Aerospace Corporation have estimated that Tiangong-1will make a re-entry sometime between March 24 and April 6. According to the calculations of Dr. Marco Langbroek, the space lab might make its re-entry in the Earth’s atmosphere on March 31, plus or minus a few days. Unfortunately, the location where it might crash still remains unknown and not estimated due to a couple of reasons. The space station is around 8.5 tons in weight.
Considering the fact that the station orbits the Earth several times per day, even a few minutes is enough time to bring Tiangong-1 over a completely different part of the planet. This means that it almost impossible to pinpoint an exact location for the space station’s landing on Earth.
Scientists are of the opinion that even if the space station crashes into a populated area, it will burn before reaching the ground and thus it won’t cause much harm.
Even in case, if some pieces of the spacecraft don’t completely burn up in the atmosphere, most of the Earth is ocean. So, the chances of a single piece of satellite hitting the land are very less.
In fact, according to ESA, the chances of getting hit by any piece are equivalent to 1 in 10 million chances of getting hit by a lightning bolt in a year. However, scientists are still concerned about the toxic, colorless substance hydrazine, which is also used in rocket fuel. Notably, long-term exposure to hydrazine might cause cancer in humans.