Out-of-control Chinese space station will crash back to Earth around March 31st, researchers say


Earlier this month, scientists attempting to forecast the eventual crash of China’s Tiangong-1 space station guessed that it would likely fall on or around the end of March. Updated observations have narrowed the window down a bit, but the big day is looking more and more like it’ll be March 31st. The spacecraft, which has been out of control for months after China lost contact with it and couldn’t wake it back up, will be incinerated in Earth’s atmosphere, but there’s still a chance that some debris could come crashing down to Earth.

Tiangong-1, which means “Heavenly Palace,” is China’s first space station, and an unceremonious dive towards Earth wasn’t what the country had in mind for it. Tech issues resulted in a loss of control, and now the 8-ton craft is at the mercy of Earth’s gravity which is pulling it closer and closer by the day.

Forecasting when and where it’ll make its reentry is extremely difficult due to a huge number of factors. The spacecraft’s decaying orbit can be affected by a number of things, including the recent mild geomagnetic storm that apparently sped up its descent. The current best guess as to when it will reach the tipping point and be dragged back into the atmosphere is March 31st, give or take a few days. – READ MORE

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