Debris from China’s rocket is hurtling towards Earth – scientists have no idea where it will land
In the coming days, a huge chunk of debris is going to make its entry into Earth’s atmosphere, which will hit a number of cities around the world. The debris is from China’s first module for its new Tianhe space station.
But there is a big problem, no one really knows where will it eventually land. The rocket Long March-5B had earlier launched the first module of the country’s new space station into orbit. But after releasing the core it should have followed a predetermined path into the ocean.
But now the 46,000-pound rocket is orbiting unpredictably at about 17,324 miles per hour and scientists have no idea where will it land. The rocket is also losing attitude as it tumbles across orbit.
“U.S. Space Command is aware of and tracking the location of the Chinese Long March 5B in space, but its exact entry point into the Earth’s atmosphere cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry, which is expected around May 8.” Lt. Col. Angela Webb, U.S. Space Command Public Affairs, told CBS News.
Various agencies are tracking the movement of debris. There is no certainty where the debris will fall but can potentially land in U.S., Mexico, Central America, South America, Africa, India, China, or Australia.
Most of the debris is excepted to be burnt upon reentry. Also, there is more chance of it landing in the ocean than on land.
But still with a rocket of this size there is always a risk that the debris will fall in a metropolitan area.