Tiangong-1 space lab likely to come crashing down to Earth tonight

Science

Scientists have been keeping a close eye on the lab as it’s been hurtling out of control.

Image Courtesy Aerospace

This isn’t actually an April Fool’s post, but just to get any shenanigans out of the way right now, the Chinese space lab, Tiangong-1, is falling out of the sky and it’s going to land on your house. Yes, yours. In reality, the lab is, in fact, plummeting out of the sky and will be crashing down to Earth at some point, and scientists believe that it will be happening today… April 1, 2018. That part still isn’t an April Fool’s joke.

To ease your potentially burdened mind (since I did say it was going to crash on your house, I was still almost certainly lying about that), scientists have been keeping a close eye on the lab as it’s been hurtling out of control. Not a whole lot is known about the lab since the Chinese government is quite secretive about these types of things (just look at how close they were to not helping get Matt Damon home in The Martian!) but we do know at least a few stats:

Mass: 8500 kg at launch (18,740 lbs)
Length: 10.5 m (34 ft)
Diameter: 3.4 m (11 ft)

Part of that will likely burn up as the lab passes through our atmosphere, but that’s still a whole lot of mass to be dumping out of space in an uncontrolled manner. The Aerospace Corporation has been compiling information and updating trajectories and whatnot and should ultimately have a pretty good idea of where Tiangong-1 is going to land. They also put together a video with a bit more information about the lab itself.

Aerospace has also been nice enough to create a F.A.Q. for this event. You can read through all of the questions at the source link below, but a few of the most important questions include:

Are there hazardous materials on board?
Potentially, there may be a highly toxic and corrosive substance called hydrazine on board the spacecraft that could survive reentry. For your safety, do not touch any debris you may find on the ground nor inhale vapors it may emit.

Should I report a sighting of the reentry? If so, to whom?
Yes. Contact CORDS at http://www.aerospace.org/cords/contacting-cords/ – Please report your location and time of the sighting, a description of what you saw, and provide any images or videos you may have captured of the reentry.

Is the Tiangong-1 going to land directly on *MY* house?
Yes.

OK, so I made up that last one. Tiangong-1 has a much higher chance of landing somewhere in the water, though at this point it’s still very much up in the air (ha, sorry). It was probably a mistake writing this post on April 1st, the lame jokes just keep popping into my head. But for real this time, the Tiangong-1 is actually falling out of the sky, scientists predict that it’s going to crash down to Earth likely at some point tonight, and chances are very good that it’s not actually going to land on your house.

You can read more about Tiangong-1 and its location/progress at the source link below. If by some really crazy chance this space lab does land on your house, first of all I’m very sorry, and second of all be sure to share any pictures you take with us in the comment section below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Aerospace
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