Tiangong-1, the Chinese space station is currently falling to Earth. At the moment of its disintegration into the atmosphere, it could look like a meteor shower.
The Chinese space station, which is currently falling towards Earth, is progressing slower than initially expected, and could enter the Earth’s atmosphere only on Monday 2nd April, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Saturday.
La nouvelle fenêtre d’estimation pour la rentrée de #Tiangong1 par les experts Débris spatiaux de l’ESA est centrée sur 1h25 CEST le 2 avril, et s’étire de l’après-midi du 1er avril au petit matin du 2 avril. Tout cela reste très variable. https://t.co/n2aZFPBTvm pic.twitter.com/OPmBf3B2KA
— ESA France (@ESA_fr) 31 March 2018
The agency, which oversees the movement of Tiangong-1 (“Heavenly Palace 1”) had previously raised a window between Saturday 14h and Sunday afternoon.
The space module is not expected to cause damage to the Earth and will even provide a “splendid” show , like a meteor shower , when it disintegrates and burns in the atmosphere , the Chinese space authorities assured.
Where will she fall?
In a statement released Saturday, ESA gives a new window between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning GMT.
The agency explains the slowdown of the fall of Tiangong-1 by a now calmer space weather.
A stream of solar particles should have increased the density in the upper atmosphere and precipitated the plunge of the station. But it did not have the intended effect, according to the European Space Agency.
The window of re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, however, remains “highly variable,” ESA said. Uncertainty also remains as to where debris may fall.
“People have no reason to worry,” the CMSEO, the Chinese office responsible for the design of manned spaceflight, said this week.
“This kind of spatial module does not crash on Earth violently as in science fiction movies.”
The Tiangong-1 laboratory was placed in orbit in September 2011. It had to make a controlled return to the earth’s atmosphere, but stopped working in March 2016, raising concerns about its “fall”.
The risk for a human being to be hit by space debris of more than 200 grams is however one in 700 million, according to the CMSEO.