Chinese Rocket Plunging Toward Earth Expected To Land This Weekend : NPR

“We’re tracking it. We’re tracking it as closely as possible. It’s a little early to know where it’s going or what if something can be done about it,” a US Space Command spokesman told Reporter. Guo Wenbin / AP Hide caption

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Guo Wenbin / AP

“We’re tracking it. We’re tracking it as closely as possible. It’s a little early to know where it’s going or what if something can be done about it,” a US Space Command spokesman told Reporter.

Guo Wenbin / AP

There’s a giant Chinese rocket booster headed for the planet and no one seems to know exactly when or where it’s going to land.

The US Space Command said It tracks the whereabouts of China’s Long March 5B, a 23-ton piece of space junk, but that the exact point of entry into Earth’s atmosphere cannot be pinpointed until hours before its reentry, which is expected sometime around May 8.

“We’re tracking it. We’re tracking it as closely as possible. It’s just a little early to know where it’s going or what if something can be done about it,” said spokesman John Kirby told Reporters earlier this week.

“I don’t want to hypothesize or speculate about possible actions the department here may or may not take,” added Kirby.

According to international guidelines, rockets should descend to earth in a controlled manner – usually “remotely controlled with the last remaining fuel in order to land in a certain, remote part of the ocean”. according to to LiveScience.

Space.com Reports The booster didn’t begin its journey into space until April 28, when it launched the core module of the new Chinese T-shaped space station into orbit.

Despite its size as one of the 10 largest objects to ever reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, scientists say the now uncontrolled booster is unlikely to actually hit anyone. Given that most of the planet is covered with water, there is a roughly 70% chance that the debris will fall into an ocean.

But that does not mean that there is no risk for humans. In May 2020, another long March 5B “became the heaviest rotating object that one could fall on uncontrollably earth in almost three decades ” according to to LiveScience. In this case, the missile crashed into the Atlantic and some parts of West Africa. possibly harmful an inhabited village in Côte d’Ivoire.

The White House on Wednesday looked at China’s falling space debris, which is not the first to fall from the sky.

“The United States is committed to addressing the risks of growing congestion from space debris and increased space activity,” said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary told reporters.

Psaki added, “We want to work with the international community to promote leadership and responsible space conduct. It is in the common interest of all nations to act responsibly in space to ensure the safety, stability, security and long-term sustainability of space activities. ”

In the meantime, the 18th Space Control Squadron will provide daily updates of the missile’s position on Space-track.org.

Jack

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