The Pentagon anticipates that debris from the aircraft, which was carrying the first module of the Chinese space station, will enter the atmosphere on May 8, but the point of impact is unknown.
- Space project China launches the first component of the Celestial Palace, its future space station
The US Pentagon tracks a big chinese rocket that is out of control and to return to Earth’s atmosphere this weekend, raising concern about where its debris may impact.
According to US media, the Chinese rocket is expected to Long March 5B enters Earth’s atmosphere “around May 8,” according to a statement from Defense Department spokesman Mike Howard, who said US Space Command is tracking the rocket’s trajectory.
The rocket’s “exact point of entry into Earth’s atmosphere” cannot be identified for a few hours when it re-enters, Howard said.
The 18th US Space Control Squadron will provide daily updates about the location of the rocket via the Space Track website, the media added. The Chinese used the rocket to launch part of their space station In the past week.
While most space debris objects burn in the atmosphere, the size of the rocket, 22 tons, has raised concern that some of its larger pieces may re-enter the atmosphere and cause damage if they hit inhabited areas.
However, Jonathan McDowell, an expert at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University, clarified to CNN that the situation “is not the end of days.”
“I don’t think people should take precautions. The risk of someone being hurt or hitting is quite small. It is not negligible, it could happen, but the risk of me hitting you is incredibly small. I will not lose a second of sleep over this as a personal threat, “he said to the chain.
McDowell explained that pinpointing where the debris could be headed is nearly impossible at this point due to the speed at which the rocket is traveling. Still, the ocean is still the safest bet where the debris will land, he said, just because it occupies most of the Earth’s surface.
“If you want to bet where something will land on Earth, bet on the Pacific, because the Pacific is the largest part of the Earth. It’s that simple,” McDowell said. This event comes after China launched the first module of your space station planned last Thursday morning from the Wenchang launch center on the southern island of Hainan, according to the China National Space Administration.
China’s space station will not launch all at once; It will be assembled from multiple modules to be shipped at different times and fully operational by the end of 2022.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism