The European Space Agency (ESA) has issued a new forecast pertaining to the fall of China’s Tiangong-1 space lab to Earth.
According to ESA while it is not possible to precisely predict when the space lab will fall back to Earth right now or where exactly it will land, it is possible to reduce the timeline to just one week – i.e. between March 30 and April 6. As of now ESA says that the space lab will fall to Earth anywhere between 43 degrees north latitude and 43 degrees south latitude.
“At no time will a precise time/location prediction from ESA be possible,” Space Debris Office officials wrote in the update.
This huge swath of land is effectively where most of the world’s population lives. Previous reports had said that the space lab has a high probability of smashing into Lower Michigan.
Scientists believe that more than 40 per cent of Tiangong-1 will get burned up as it enters the atmosphere, but there will be a sizable chunk that will still remain and it will reach the earth’s surface intact in the form of space debris.
While the impact is a huge thing on its own, reports that the space lab is packed full of a toxic and corrosive liquid chemical called hydrazine are worse. Long-term exposure to hydrazine is believed to cause cancer in humans.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University, explained that it is only in the final week or so that they will be able to start speaking about it with more confidence.
TheSpaceNews will keep you updated about all the developments in the story.