Chinese space junk or the remains of the Long March 5B rocket weighing between 23-to-25 tonnes is descending uncontrollably from its orbit, expected to crash land on Earth later this weekend.
Experts warn the debris from the massive Chinese rocket has a 0.5 percent chance of actually falling on land, but there’s no need to panic yet.
When is Chinese rocket trash falling down on Earth?
According to a CNN report, the Chinese rocket Long March 5B took off from the Wenchang launch site on Hainan Island on Sunday, July 24, local time. The Chinese rocket carried the Wentian laboratory module to the Tiangong space station – think of it as the Chinese version of the International Space Station that’s currently being built around Earth’s orbit.
After its successful docking with China’s orbital outpost and delivery of the laboratory module, the Long March 5B rocket is spiralling down to Earth in an uncontrolled manner, according to reports.
This is par for the course for almost all rocket launches, except maybe only SpaceX for now – all rockets that are launched to send payload into Earth’s atmosphere and beyond invariably have to crash down, thanks to our planet’s gravitational pull. No getting away from that, our ISRO rockets go through the same launch and crash routine, too.
What’s causing some worry among experts is the size and scale of this Chinese rocket’s debris that’s hurtling down and expected to crash land on Earth on July 31, 2022 (IST). It’s just huge!
At least 5-10 tonnes of Chinese rocket debris to crash
According to experts, at least 23-25 tonnes of the booster stage of the Chinese rocket Long March 5B is expected to crash down on Earth this weekend.
It’s the sixth-largest object to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, warned the Aerospace Corporation, who’s tracking the descent of the Chinese rocket debris. Most of this rocket will disintegrate and burn up as it gathers speed and re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, but because of its huge size some small portions will fall and make a sizable impact at the crash site.
“The general rule of thumb is that 20–40 percent of the mass of a large object will reach the ground, but the exact number depends on the design of the object,” the company explained in a Medium post.
That means at least 5-10 tonnes of the remains of Chinese rocket Long March 5B’s booster core will ultimately crash down on Earth, and experts right now don’t know where exactly it will land.
There’s a “99.5 percent chance that nothing will happen,” Ted Muelhaupt, a consultant for the Aerospace Corporation, said during a discussion about the coming Long March 5B crash, according to a Space.com report. The earth is predominantly full of water, which is where most rocket launch boosters fall down in a controlled fashion anyway, to avoid threat of a land crash and harm to property or life.
But even in the off chance (0.5 percent) of the Chinese rocket parts crashing down on land, experts say not to worry as these events won’t be cataclysmic – not even close to the destruction caused by a single cruise missile strike being fired in the Ukraine war every single day.
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