1. You Are At:
  2. Home
  3. Science News
  4. Defunct Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 to fall on earth tonight, debris could be seen from these cities

Defunct Chinese space lab Tiangong-1 to fall on earth tonight, debris could be seen from these cities

The Tiangong-1 will disintegrate during its re-entry and only a few parts of it will survive the process and reach Earth's surface.

Reported by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Published on: April 01, 2018 11:21 IST ]
Chinese space lab Tiangong-1. Representative Image.

Chinese space lab Tiangong-1. Representative Image.

Chinese defunct space lab, Tiangong-1, is set to re-enter Earth's atmosphere tonight. The debris of the science lab is likely to be seen streaking through skies of New York, Barcelona, Beijing, Chicago, Istanbul, Rome or Toronto. 

The Tiangong-1 will disintegrate during its re-entry and only a few parts of it will survive the process and reach Earth's surface. 

If the weather is clear, residents of one or some of these cities will be able to spot the remaining pieces of the space lab as streaks of light across the sky anywhere between Monday 00:30 am to 11:30 am (IST)

The European Space Agency (ESA), which is managing the international campaign to follow the laboratory's fall, said that the chances of someone being hit by a piece of the space lab are 10 million times less than the annual probability of being hit by lightning.

According to the agency, the time and place of the space lab's re-entry continue to be a "highly variable" prediction affected by the changing solar activity. 

ESA, which has a department specialising in space debris, recalled that at first the space ship's controlled re-entry into Earth's atmosphere was planned once its useful life was over, but Tiangong-1, which was launched in 2011, stopped functioning in March 2016.

Its re-entry into the atmosphere, therefore, will not be controlled and according to the latest calculations, it could occur between the latitudes of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south, which includes a large part of the planet.

The principal part of the spaceship measures 10.4 metres long and is made up of two cylinders of approximately the same length, together with two solar panels of 3 by 7 metres each.

Weighing less than 8.7 tonnes, it is much smaller than other objects that have entered the atmosphere in an uncontrolled way in the history of space flights. The record up to now was set by Skylab, which weighed 74 tonnes.

Researchers across the globe have reportedly raised concerns due to highly toxic chemicals the space lab contains. Some reports quoted researchers as saying that the debris could even hit highly populated areas, but ESA has stressed that chances of such occurrences are little, as Earth continues to be largely inhabited and covered in water.

Write a comment