MAR 28, 2018 7:31 PM PDT

Where Will Pieces of China's Tiangong-1 Spacecraft Land?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


Spacecraft that orbit Earth from the upper atmosphere, like the International Space Station, encounter slight amounts of drag that slow their trajectory down over time. That said, most spacecraft have limited lifespans after deployment. Engineers can combat said drag with thrusters, but fuel sources only last so long before depleting.

Given the circumstances, what goes up must come down (eventually), and space agencies are responsible for ensuring that spacecraft don't enter Earth's atmosphere over highly-populated areas. This prevents super-heated chunks spacecraft metal from landing on people and causing severe injury or death.

On the other hand, China lost control of its Tiangong-1 spacecraft long ago, and experts have warned that it would re-enter Earth's atmosphere sometime between late March and early April of 2018. Well folks, the calendar is knocking. Experts say Tiangong-1 will re-enter Earth's atmosphere any day now, and we still have no idea where it's going to land.

Sounds scary right? Maybe just a little bit, but experts are staying positive about the situation by citing Earth's vast water-covered surface as being an excellent shock absorber. Given that two-thirds of Earth's surface is water, it's unlikely that any piece of Tiangong-1 will strike solid ground. Even if it did, the chances are slim that fragments from it will smack you in the head.

Experts are continuously observing the skies to spot and keep track of Tiangong-1 as it enters Earth's atmosphere, but it hasn't yet. Everyone's crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 03, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 03, 2019
Wanna Venture Outside of the Solar System? Try a "Skyhook"
Rocket engines are expensive to build, and their speed and the distance of travel are also limited by their own weight and the fuel they carry. But there&#...
DEC 10, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 10, 2019
Greenland's Ice Sheet is Experiencing "Worst-Case Scenario" Loss
Greenland’s Ice Sheet—which covers 75% of the land’s mass—is melting at a rate aligned with “worst-case scenario” sea l...
JAN 13, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 13, 2020
Lunar Dust is Actually Quite Dangerous to Humans
Most people have a tendency to think that lunar dust isn’t any different than the dirt found here on Earth, but quite the opposite is true. In fact,...
JAN 16, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 16, 2020
Self-healable Sweat Sensor Fears No Wear and Tear
Sweat can provide a lot of information about a person's health. One of the current trends in wearable technology is to incorporate sweat sensing mechan...
JAN 29, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 29, 2020
Milk, a Controversial Food?
When it comes to foods with a controversial reputation, milk isn't your usual suspect. First and foremost, we humans are mammals and breast milk is a q...
FEB 09, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 09, 2020
Horned Lizards Are Great Predators, But Also at Avoiding Predation
There are at least 17 known species of horned lizard belonging to the genus Phrynosoma, but the giant horned lizard (Phrynosoma asio) is the largest of the...
Loading Comments...