Between March 24th and April 19th, the Chinese space station “Tiangong-1″ is expected to fall on Earth. Greece is also among the possible countries he may be heading for. The European Space Agency (ESA) estimates that the Chinese space station and experimental space laboratory”, will fall to Earth at this time, an estimate that is likely to change within weeks.
Where exactly will fall the 10.4 meters long and weighing 8.5 tonnes space station is impossible to predict. In all likelihood, however, we may not have fall but sea landing … The fall zone extends to a huge area, including Greece, which is even mentioned in a reference by ESA.
The Space Debris Office of ESA’s ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany, reported in a blog with its latest estimates of Tiangong-1 Time and Fall Area that “re-entry (in the atmosphere) will take place anywhere in latitude 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south (eg Spain, France, Portugal, Greece, etc.). Areas outside these latitudes can be excluded. Under no circumstances will ESA be able to accurately estimate time and location. ”
A better estimate, according to ESA, will be possible only one day before the drop-off date of the station, but again it will not be accurate.
Although the 43 degree north and 43 degrees south of Ecuador are enormous and include large marine areas, ESA scientists estimate the station is likely to fall close to one of the two boundaries of the zone, either closer to 43 degrees north or closer to 43 degrees south. It is also noted that the territory of Greece lies at a latitude of 35 to 42 degrees north, so our country is closer to the upper edge of the possible fall zone.
To a great extent the station will burn out as it crosses its earthly atmosphere. But it is likely that some pieces will escape and these remnants will fall to the surface of the Earth. ESA considers it likely that debris will spread over a large area, up to 100 km apart.
But he thinks the probability of a piece falling into someone’s head is ten million times less than the chance of being hit by a lightning strike within a year or less than the chance of being hit by a lightning strike twice in the same year. In the history of space flights, there has so far been no confirmation of any drop of space “garbage” on humans.
Initially, the Chinese planned a controlled fall of the station at the end of its life, somewhere in the vast South Pacific Ocean, away from residential areas. However, in March 2016, it became clear that the station had stopped working and responded to the Chinese control center’s orders, making it largely uncontrollable.
“Tiangong-1” was China’s first space laboratory, launched in 2011 to help the country with large space ambitions to acquire know-how to build and set into motion a larger manned station, something which is scheduled to take place in the 2020s.
During its life, Tiangong-1 had visited three Chinese missions: the first in 2011 was the Shenzhou robotic spacecraft, followed by two more in 2012 and 2013, the Shenzhou 9 and 10 manned ships respectively. Although the Chinese station is not small, there have been other uncontrollable falls in space history, more typical of Skylab, a 74-ton American space station in 1979. Of course, this happened almost four decades ago, but the concern there is…