Runaway Chinese space station could smash into a major city next year

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The station could hit a city, but the chances of that happening are extremely remote. Image Credit: CMSE

The European Space Agency has warned that there is a chance that the station could hit a populated area.

 

Launched back in 2011, Tiangong 1 – or ‘Heavenly Place’ – was part of China’s efforts to assert itself as a major player in the space industry and to create a manned orbital laboratory for scientific research.

 

Last year however, following months of speculation over peculiarities observed in Tiangong 1’s orbit, China’s CNSA space agency revealed that it had lost control of the station and that it would be plummeting back to Earth, sparking fears over the risk of falling debris.

Now scientists at ESA have revealed that the station could come down anywhere between two latitude lines in the northern and southern hemispheres.

The potential impact zone includes cities such as New York, Rome, Istanbul and Tokyo.

“Owing to the geometry of the station’s orbit, we can already exclude the possibility that any fragments will fall over any spot further north than 43°N or further south than 43°S,” said ESA’s Holger Krag.

“This means that re-entry may take place over any spot on Earth between these latitudes, which includes several European countries, for example.”

Despite this however, the likelihood of it hitting a populated area is still extremely small.

 

Source: Fox News