Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ The Pentagon is tracking an out-of-control Chinese rocket that is expected to crash to Earth

The Pentagon is tracking an out-of-control Chinese rocket that is expected to crash to Earth

space station

The Chinese Long March 5B rocket launched Tianhe, the main module of the Chinese space station.


Sounds like the plot line for a Bruce Willis film: The Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday that it was tracking a large Chinese rocket that is out of control and is expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere this weekend. The US space command is tracking the trajectory, said Defense Ministry spokesman Mike Howard in a statement quoted by CNN, and expects the appearance of the Chinese Long March 5B rocket “around May 8”.

Howard said the exact point of entry of the rocket will not be known until hours after re-entry, but daily updates on its location will be provided on the Space Track website.

Aerospace.org is also tracking the rocket and from Tuesday night predicts arrival on May 8, around 9:30 p.m. PT, although forecasts are subject to change.

But don’t panic. Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University’s Center for Astrophysics, told CNN, “The risk of it hitting you is incredibly low. And so I wouldn’t lose a second of sleep because of it.”

Because the Pacific Ocean covers so much of the Earth, the debris is likely to scatter somewhere in the calm waters, he said.

McDowell also adjusted the period of time when the debris is expected to arrive between May 8 and 10.

The rocket helped launch Tianhe, the main module in the new next-generation Chinese space station, on April 28. The space base should be completed by the end of 2022 to serve as a research outpost for China over the next decade and the only other operational space habitat outside the International Space Station.

And what goes up must go down.

As early as 2018, similar events occurred when the uncontrolled by China space station Tiangong-1 re-entered the atmosphere over the ocean near Tahiti. No one was injured, and the wreckage either burned or found a new home on the floor in the South Pacific.

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