China’s 8.5-ton Tiangong-1 space lab might fall to Earth between March 30 and April 2. It’ll hurtle toward Earth in an uncontrolled fall.
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Debris Office in Darmstadt, Germany, predicted Thursday the Chinese space lab will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere by the end of March or the beginning of April.
However, it’s a mystery where the flaming debris will land. Forecasters say it could land south of Canada. Or somewhere from northern California to Pennsylvania, according to analysis by the federally-funded Aerospace Corporation.
China launched Tiangong-1 in late September 2011, with a mission to help test the docking and rendezvous technologies required to build a bona fide space station, which China aims to do by the mid-2020s.
The first Chinese orbital docking occurred between Tiangong-1 and an unpiloted Shenzhou spacecraft on Nov. 2, 2011.
However, you don’t need to worry. The unmanned station will not hit anybody because Earth’s atmosphere will likely burn it up and break it apart.
The only human being who has been hit so far by an orbital debris is Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to Space.com “The debris was later confirmed to have been part of a fuel tank from a Delta 2 rocket, and other pieces of the booster were recovered several hundred miles away in Texas.”
But Aerospace warns, “highly” toxic substance called hydrazine could survive re-entry. So, if you see any unknown substances on the ground try not to touch it and avoid inhaling fumes.