Tuesday, 6 March 2018

It's Raining Space Stations

If you are planning on visiting Spain, Portugal, Italy, Bulgaria or Greece in April you may want to take a hard hat because a dodgy paella may be the least of your concerns as the European Space Agency has narrowed down the sites of where the out-of-control Chinese satellite, Tiangong-1 space station, will likely come down to Earth with a thump next month.
The chances of being hit by a piece of space metal as you gaze at the Acropolis are slim but engineers acknowledge that the they are worried that the craft’s layered construction, which they liken to an onion, could make it harder for the 8.5-ton vessel to fully disintegrate in the atmosphere.
The spacecraft has been steadily losing altitude since losing contact with Chinese mission control in 2016 but has been tracked by the ESA who managed to narrow down any potential crash site to hundred of kilometres but will become more certain as the time nears.
There has only ever been one case of a piece of space debris striking a person. In January 1997, a resident of Oklahoma in the US, reported that she had been struck in the shoulder by a piece of metal while walking through a park. Analysed later, the sample was found to have been part of a fuel tank of a Delta II rocket that launched a satellite in 1996.
According to the Registration Convention, the set of laws governing the responsibilities of countries who launch objects into space, China would be liable for any damage done to property or people if the Tiangong-1 came down over land so you may want to make sure you pack the required claim form and the address of the Chinese Embassy along with your bikini before travelling.

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