Part of a Chinese space rocket crashes toward Earth: Debris can land anywhere

Illustrative image for the article Part of the Chinese space rocket crashes to Earth: Debris can fall anywhere

Source: TASR / AP

Scientists do not know where the falling object will land. They lost control of the 20-ton portion of the space rocket.

Scientists do not know where the falling object will land. They lost control of the 20-ton portion of the space rocket.

Illustrative image for the article Part of the Chinese space rocket crashes to Earth: Debris can fall anywhere

Source: TASR / AP

In the coming days, part of the Chinese rocket, which launched the basic module of the new Chinese space station Tianjung (Heavenly Palace) into orbit last Thursday, may fall uncontrollably on Thursday, the DPA agency reported on Tuesday.

Impact on Earth

Scientists warn against the uncontrollable entry of a 20-ton object into the Earth’s atmosphere.

“We don’t know exactly where it will enter the atmosphere,” said astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell of Harvard University.

It is also uncertain how many fragments will eventually hit Earth. However, according to McDowell, there will be enough of them to cause damage.

“It could be at worst than the crash of a small plane, but with debris scattered along a line of hundreds of miles,” McDowell said.

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This is not the only case

He added that Chinese space rockets do not meet today’s standards, according to which their remnants should not remain in orbit and should be directed into the ocean when they hit Earth.

The wreckage of China’s Long March 5 space rocket landed in Côte d’Ivoire last May, damaging several rural homes. It was the largest impact of its kind since 1979, when the US space laboratory Skylab fell to Earth.

China’s Tianjung Space Station should be completed, according to the Chinese government “around 2022”. Its construction is intended to strengthen the country’s position in science and technology as well as space activities.

If the technically obsolete International Space Station (ISS) ceases to operate in the coming years, China will be the only country operating a permanent space base.

Photo: illustration

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Source: TASR / AP

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