Chinese space station Tiangong 1 to crash-land on Earth soon

Scientists are not certain as to exactly where the out-of-control space station will fall.

An out-of-control space station is falling towards the Earth and will crash on the surface of the globe soon. The Chinese space station, dubbed Tiangong 1, is accelerating its fall towards the Earth and will touch the ground soon in the coming months, said Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell.

As per a report by The Guardian, the space station is decaying quickly and Jonathan McDowell expects that "it will come down a few months from now – late 2017 or early 2018."

However, scientists are yet to find out the exact location where the Tiangong 1 would crash. As per a report by Independent, the space laboratory is supposed to drop into the sea but there are still possibilities of it crashing near people causing severe damage.

China has already told the United Nations "Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space" in May that it would vigilantly monitor the craft's descent and inform the UN as soon as Tiangong 1 begins its final plunge.

As per the Guardian's report, in 2016, Jonathan McDowell had opined that it would be impossible to locate the exact point where the space station will land. "You really can't steer these things. Even a couple of days before it re-enters we probably won't know better than six or seven hours, plus or minus, when it's going to come down. Not knowing when it's going to come down translates as not knowing where it's going to come down," he said.

As McDowell said, even a trivial change in the atmosphere could push the landing site of the Chinese space station "from one continent to the next".

Also Read: NASA astronauts fix 'new eyes' to International Space Station, why?

Although most of the craft is expected to burn up in the atmosphere, still some parts that crash land on the Earth might weigh up to 100 kg.

The Tiangong 1 station was launched in 2011. The China National Space Administration had called the space station to be a "Heavenly Palace." Tiangong 1 had conducted a number of missions, some of which even included astronauts. It was only in 2016 that the Chinese space agency said that they have lost control over the craft and that now it would be heading towards the Earth.