If you get lucky, you might find a chunk of a meteor from outer space, if you get REALLY lucky you might find a piece of the 9.4-ton Chinese space station as falls back to earth at thousands of miles an hour.
The space station is called Tiangong 1 and its predicted to fall back to earth in mid-March, give or take a few weeks, according to an <a href="https://www.aerospace.org/cords/reentry-predictions/tiangong-1-reentry/">analysis</a> by the Aerospace Corporation. The company is a federally funded research and development center in California and they say the odds of it falling on your head are low, but NOT non-existent.
So this spring, keep one eye on the sky and watch for a giant fireball of flaming debris just in case. Andrew Abraham, a member of the team behind the analysis, says, "It most probably will not harm anyone. The odds of being struck by a piece of this space station as it’s re-entering are exceptionally tiny."
Keep in mind there are a handful of deaths each year due to bullets falling onto someone's head after they were fired into the air. If a person can be hit by a tiny, less than an inch long projectile, it isn't impossible for a piece of a giant space station to hit you either.
Researchers say they are confident that no human lives will be lost but of course, they will say that and in all reality, their ability to precisely forecast the re-entry is limited.
The calculations that predict the space stations re-entry must take into account a multitude of factors including the density of the upper atmosphere and the object’s speed, location, orientation and physical properties, according to researchers.
Ted Muelhaupt hints at the reality that the space station could fall on the white house, or it could fall in the Bahamas, it's really impossible to know. "If you’re off by half an hour, you’re on the other side of the planet," Muelhaupt said.
In 1979, experts made a miscalculation of the descent of the American space station Skylab when it fell back to earth. Experts predicted the station would fall over the Pacific, instead, it landed in the Australian desert.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/3593a134d1d805cff4187665474bfd69207788a2f13e153d2ab3f8d293ee9d38.png" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Credit: Aerospace Corporation</span>
The Chinese space station Tiangong 1 has been unmanned for over four years and could fall anywhere on about two-thirds of the earth's surface.
Despite the unpredictable nature of the re-entry, researchers at Aerospace Corporation say, "The probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong 1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot."
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