China’s first space station, which was launched in 2011 and has been in decreasing orbit ever since. China admitted last year it no longer had control of the space station –– and now it’s getting close to plummeting back to Earth.
Most of it will burn up on re-entry, but there’s always a chance some of it will survive and hit Earth. That said, most of our planet is covered by water so the odds are overwhelming it will splash down in an ocean someplace.
But if it hits a populated area, the results could be horrific.
Much depends on angle, velocity and atmospheric density –- but current predictions have it re-entering as early as March 29 and as late as April 2.
Aerospace Corporation, which tracks space junk for NASA and Space Command, says the odds you will be hit — even if you are in the highest-probability zones — are about 1 million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot. The only known person to have been hit by space junk is Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was hit, and uninjured, when a used Delta II rocket burned up on re-entry in January 1997.
In the U.S., the highest probability of debris impact is in areas that include Oregon, northern California, parts of Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.