Going Into Space Before You Totally Understand The Science

The Independent U.K. recently posted an article about the Chinese space station. China launched the Tiangong 1 in 2011 to show their progress in space. Unfortunately their progress was not particularly forward looking.

The article reports:

An out-of-control space laboratory is falling towards the Earth and will crash land soon, experts say.

The Chinese space station is accelerating its fall towards us and will reach the ground in the coming months, Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell told the Guardian. It is decaying quickly and he expects “expect it will come down a few months from now – late 2017 or early 2018”, he told the paper.

The Tiangong 1 station was launched in 2011 as one of the great hopes of the Chinese ambitions in space, and as part of a plan to show itself off as a global superpower. The country’s space agency referred to the station as the “Heavenly Palace” and conducted a range of missions, some of which included astronauts.

Evidently Chinese scientists reported last year that they had lost control of the space station. It is predicted that a large portion of the space station will burn up on reentry and that it is likely to land in the sea, but there are no guarantees.

The article reports:

It’s very difficult to predict where it will fall because engineers have lost control of the capsule and it will be thrown around by the wind as it comes down. Even a slight push from the weather could send it from one continent to the next.

Much of the debris will burn up on its way into Earth’s atmosphere. But chunks as big as 100kg will make their way through and fall from the skies, said McDowell.

Just for the record, 100kg is about 220 pounds. I really would not like anything weighing 220 pounds to fall on either me, my house, my car, my children, or anything or anyone else I know or am related to. I hope it is legal to sue countries who put things in space and lose control of them, because I believe that if anyone is injured in any way by this falling debris, they should collect a serious amount of money from the Chinese government. Meanwhile, if you hear any strange noises coming from the sky in the next six months or so, take cover.