It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s the Tiangong-1! China’s first next generation space station is expected to enter the Earth’s surface in between 27th March and 8th April and it doesn’t look pretty!
Tiangong-1, also called Heavenly Palace, was launched back in 2011 and the Chinese, unexpectedly, lost its control back in 2016. Initially, the station was planned to ‘safely crash’ in the South Pacific Ocean after burning through the Earth’s atmosphere, effectively keeping all humans out of its impact zone except some unfortunate marine life. Oh, how things have gone out of hand!
The only people keeping tabs on the space station are the folks at European Space Agency (ESA), who have been reporting the rogue station’s movements and predicting its crash date! ESA has announced that Tiangong-1 will crash somewhere around countries like Spain, France, Portugal and Greece, parts of North and South America, China, Middle East, Africa and regions of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Fortunately, there is no need to worry! “…the personal probability of being hit by a piece of debris from the Tiangong-1 is actually 10 million times smaller than the yearly chance of being hit by lightning,” In easier words, you are pretty darn unlikely to be hit. Since the space age and the years that followed, there have never been any deaths due to falling space debris. The space station will be broken down as it enter the atmosphere, turning into smaller pieces, pieces that are small enough to cause little to no danger. Even if the space station does crash into a populous area or urban center, it will be so minuscule before impact that it will cause no damage at all.
Currently, the space station is at an altitude of 150 miles, orbiting around the Earth at about 18,000mph.