BOSTON (CBS) — Forecast for this weekend: Partly sunny with a chance of falling space debris.
Oh, you hadn’t heard? Sometime in the next few days, China’s doomed space station Tiangong-1 will plunge into the Earth’s atmosphere, out of control. Experts say that most of the space station will largely burn up and disintegrate as it tumbles through our atmosphere, however there is a chance that some smaller pieces of debris could actually make it to the surface. Say what?
Unfortunately they don’t know exactly when it will begin its nosedive. Latest estimates put it somewhere between Saturday morning and Sunday night.
And they don’t know exactly where it will fall, they have “narrowed” the possibilities to somewhere between 43N and 43S – a very large area that includes Boston along with most of the rest of the civilized world.
Sounds crazy, right? No, this is not an April Fool’s Joke!
Before you start running for your bunker and hoarding candles and food, let me put you at ease. . .
The odds of you or anyone you know being hit by a piece of space junk this weekend are ridiculously low. In fact, you have a much better chance of winning the lottery or being struck by lightning. This is NOT something you should worry about.
In fact, this has happened before. . . several times! Russian and U.S. spy satellites, research satellites, you name it, it has crashed and burned back to Earth. And never in the recorded human history of space flight has anyone ever been struck and killed by space debris, so there’s that.
There was one recorded case of a woman being hit by debris (and not hurt). Back in 1997, Lottie Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma was hit in the shoulder by a piece of light material from the U.S. Delta II rocket, but she is the only recorded case. I mean, what are the chances!
In short, go about your weekend, nothing to see here. But, on the off chance you see a streaking fireball in the sky, now you know, that ain’t no Easter Bunny.
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