Falling China spacecraft Tiangong 1 filled with toxic chemicals?

Toxic chemical Hydrazine could survive re-entry, say experts

tiangong 1

The out-of-control Chinese space station Tiangong-1, that is falling from the sky, has opened up another angle to it. The experts, who couldn't say where it's going to fall exactly, have now found that the spacecraft, which was once called the "Heavenly Palace", contains hydrazine, which is rocket fuel, in tact on its re-entry. This substance, if exposed to humans for a long period of time, could cause severe liver and nerve damage.

Hydrazine is essentially an oily and colourless liquid, mainly used for agricultural, military and industrial purpose. It's also highly reactive. Although it is expected that only 40% of the spacecraft may survive earth's atmosphere, Aerospace Corp has raised questions about this lethal chemical substance. Rest of the spacecraft is supposed to burn up while passing through the atmosphere of the planet.

Aerospace Corp is known for providing accurate technical guidance over several space missions.

In a written statement, the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (Cords) said, "Potentially, there may be a highly toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board the spacecraft that could survive re-entry. For your safety, do not touch any debris you may find on the ground nor inhale vapors it may emit."

The Chinese space lab was launched in 2011 to make it a space lab with human crew. However, it lost contact with the mission control on earth last year. Although China remained silent about the failure of the Tiangong-1 mission for a long time, its statement last year to the United Nations, stated that they are no longer in contact with the spacecraft.

At first, experts predicted that it would crash into the earth somewhere in 2017. However, now the experts are expecting that it will re-enter earth's atmosphere somewhere in March 2018. The entry of the spacecraft would be uncontrolled and several countries are at risk. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the list includes Turkey, Spain, India, some parts of the United States and Italy.

Also Read: Will China become Super Power or Space Power in 2018?

The experts from the EPA have managed to roughly draw a location of the fall and they think it would be somewhere between latitudes 43° North and 43° South. However, they have also emphasized that all the nations between these latitudes are at risk and take precautionary measures.

This article was first published on January 3, 2018