Tiangong-1 Space Station To Fall To Earth Within A Week

But the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee calculates the odds of a person being hit by whatever is not burned up during re-entry to be 10 million times less than the chance of a person being hit by lightning. The agency said Monday (March 26) that the lab could fall between March 31 to April 4 (link in Chinese).

It assessed that it was most likely for the debris to fall within the extreme edges of the 43 degree bands, leaving the U.S., southern Europe and the Balkans as the most densely populated areas which could be hit.

In case Tiangong-1 causes any extensive damage through its fall, it is China - the launching state - which would be responsible for compensating for the damage. "Based on Tiangong-1's inclination, however, we can confidently say that this object will reenter somewhere between 43° North and 43° South latitudes".

The ASI is one of 13 worldwide space agencies monitoring the satellite as it approaches earth for an uncontrolled crash landing. The interest surrounding the free-falling doomed space station is the fact that scientists and researchers truly can't nail down when and where it will enter. The China Manned Space website will supply daily updates. In 1979, for example, NASA's Skylab 77,111-kilogram (85-ton) space station reentered over Australia, scattering debris near the town of Esperance. The Chinese government later released an estimate that predicted Tiangong-1 would come down at some point in late 2017.

An artist's view of China's Tiangong-1 space station prototype in orbit.

Time and place of impact are hard to predict as it is no longer controlled.

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While most components of the eight-tonne craft are expected to burn up as it re-enters the atmosphere, some debris might survive and make it back to ground level, the statement said. It hosted three space crews whose members performed science experiments, including one group of astronauts who remained on the station for a then-record 84 days.

Tiangong-1 won't be the biggest spacecraft ever to fall uncontrolled from the sky.

The 9.4-ton Tiangong-1, which name translates as "Heavenly Palace-1", is the size of a school bus and was launched in 2011.

What did Tiangong-1 do in space?

While the most probable location for debris to fall is into the oceans, any pieces falling on land should be avoided and reported immediately, as they may be contaminated with hydrazine, a highly toxic and corrosive chemical that is used as spacecraft fuel.

As for whether you might catch a glimpse of the station breaking up - which can be quite spectacular - it all depends on a few factors including location, time of day and cloud cover.