Chinese rocket goes out of control: What time will it land this Saturday? – Science – Life

Chinese rocket goes out of control: What time will it land this Saturday?  - Science - Life

A Rocket The uncontrolled Chinese must return This weekend To the Earth’s atmosphere, With low risk, Though not empty, is wreaking havoc on the earth China And various experts.

Asian country April 29 The first module of its space station, thanks to the Chinese launcher Long March 5B carrier rocket.

(Also read: Will a Chinese rocket crash land?).

This rocket, which is currently in orbit, must return to it Earth. He is gradually losing height and the impact of his fall is now difficult to predict.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Defense figures, entry into the atmosphere must occur around 23H00 GMT Saturday, i.e., six in the afternoon, Colombian time.

(Interested: Total lunar eclipse and other astronomical events in May).

No need to worry too much

But this prediction has a nine-hour error margin. That gap should narrow as the rocket approaches.

Beijing responded on Friday after a long silence by Chinese diplomatic and space officials.

“Most components of a rocket will ignite and perish when it enters the atmosphere.”Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

“Earthly celestial activity or (people, buildings) very low risk of damage”He said at a press conference.

(We suggest: Will the International Space Station be a luxury hotel?).

Impact possibilities

The Chinese media gave brief coverage of the event on Saturday, limited to retelling the words of the diplomatic spokesman.

The Long March 5B rocket, carrying the central module of the Tianhe space station in China, was launched on April 29.

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Although parts of the rocket Stay undamaged Once in the atmosphere, they have a high probability of being destroyed at sea, because 70% of the planet is water. But they can be dangerous in a populated area or on a boat.

“We hope they land in a place where no one is hurt.” U.S. Defense Department spokesman Mike Howard said Friday that their country was following the path of the rocket.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed last Thursday that his country has no intention of destroying a Chinese ship. But he hinted at it China had not planned Your startup is careful enough.

According to several experts interviewed by AFP, There is a risk Debris from a heavy launch vehicle touches the residential area, but is unlikely.

(More than: Why are gas planets so far away from the sun?).

“Considering the size of the object, it is necessary to leave large pieces.”Said Florent Delife, an astronomer at the Paris-PSL Observatory.

But the potential for impact in populated areas “At least, maybe less than a million”, Says Nicholas Bobrinsky, head of engineering and innovation at the European Space Agency (ESA).

Pieces of metal

“No need to worry too much”Said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the United States.

It is not a good practice for a ton of metal pieces to fall to the ground at speeds of hundreds of kilometers per hour, and China should review the design of the Long March 5B missions to avoid this, ”he added.

(You can read: Why NASA has suspended the contract with Elon Musk to return to the moon).

Waste from another rocket in 2020 Long march They crashed in the villages of C ഡിte d’Ivoire, with no injuries but no injuries.

Chinese authorities have denied that the spacecraft lost control, but re-entered the atmosphere in 2018, two years after the Tiangong-1 space laboratory ceased operations.

China has invested billions of dollars in space programs for decades.

In 2003, the Asian giant sent the first astronaut into space. A Chinese probe arrived at the far side of the moon in 2019, the world’s first.

(Continue reading: SpaceX manages to land a starship rocket without exploding).

Last year, he returned samples from the moon and completed his satellite navigation system (rival to American GPS) Beed.

In the coming weeks, China plans to launch a small wheel robot on Mars. In addition, the space agency with China announced its intention to build a lunar base with Russia.

Ludovic Ehret
AFP

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