What Goes Up, Must Come Down Holds True For Chinese Rocket Debris Set To Hit Earth This Weekend – CBS Miami
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Space watchers will be looking to the skies this weekend as debris from a Chinese rocket is expected to fall back to Earth. Nobody knows when or where it will land.
China’s powerful Long March 5B rocket successfully carried the first section of a future space station, but the 20-ton rocket failed to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
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“Usually rocket stages fall straight back to Earth. In this case, however, because it’s a single-stage rocket, the core stayed in orbit, and that’s the problem, “said Bill Harwood, space analyst at CBS News.
Right now, the 100-foot rocket is hurtling around the earth at 17,000 miles per hour.
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“I think the Chinese see this as a question of playing the odds, right? I mean, 75% of the planet is covered in water, so you have a 3 out of 4 chance of ending up in an ocean, ”said Harwood. He believes the likelihood that the rubble will hit a community or person is “incredibly small” and “an extremely distant possibility”.
The Pentagon says it has no plans to launch the missile. China will send another 10 in the coming months.
“The United States, Russia, the European Space Agency, and Japan are designed to propel themselves into the atmosphere each time a rocket launches, where they can harmlessly dissolve after their deployment. Why the Chinese don’t do that is unclear, ”said Harwood.
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China insists that the risk of damage from falling debris is “extremely low”. Space experts predict that it will fall to Earth sometime this weekend.