(USA Today) - The first space station built and launched by China will come hurling into Earth as winter ends, according to a recent analysis.
The Tiangong-1 is predicted to re-enter our atmosphere around March, the federally-funded Aerospace Corporation reports. In 2016, the Chinese stopped receiving data from the station, which is why its re-entry likely won't be controlled. It's hard to pinpoint where the station or its parts will fall, but it's anticipated to land somewhere between 43 degrees North and 43 degrees South latitudes in one of two bands parallel to the equator, Aerospace says. The Northern Hemisphere prediction includes multiple states in the U.S. from northern California to Pennsylvania.
Apparently, it's not as terrifying as it sounds.
he odds of the 9.4-ton unmanned station crashing into a person is “about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot,” the analysis found. That's because Earth's atmosphere will likely burn up and break apart some of the 34-foot long mass.
Also, after years of space exploration, only one person, Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has ever been recorded being struck by spacecraft debris. A piece of the Delta II rocket hit her on the shoulder in 1996. She wasn't seriously injured.
What is concerning is that a “highly” toxic substance called hydrazine could survive re-entry. Don't touch unknown substances on the ground and avoid inhaling fumes, Aerospace warns.
If you see anything unusual come March (like bright streaks moving across the sky in the same direction), you can report a re-entry sighting on the Aerospace website.
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