John Ross Ferrara / @ 1:43 p.m. / Soaring

A Chinese Spacecraft is Plunging Toward Earth and Humboldt Is In the Narrow Zone of Places That May Get Hit



Graphic provided by Aerospace.

A malfunctioning Chinese space station will soon crash, and Humboldt County is one of the few places on Earth with a high chance of being hit by falling debris.

Aerospace reports that the Tiangong-1 space station, which China reportedly lost contact with in 2016, will fall out of orbit and enter Earth’s atmosphere sometime around mid- to late March.

The orbit of Tiangong-1 as of January 10, 2018 | Aerospace.

“There is a chance that a small amount of Tiangong-1 debris may survive reentry and impact the ground,” Aerospace wrote in a publication. “Should this happen, any surviving debris would fall within a region that is a few hundred kilometers in size and centered along a point on the Earth that the station passes over.”

The graphic above breaks the earth up into three sections. Blue: areas with zero chance of being hit by the space station. Green: areas with a low chance of being hit. Yellow: areas with the highest chance of being struck by the falling space debris. Humboldt is in the yellow zone. But don’t worry — scientists say you have a better chance of winning the lottery than being clunked in the head by a rogue space station.

Tiangong-1 | Wikimedia.

“When considering the worst-case location (yellow regions of the map) the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot,” Aerospace writes. “In the history of spaceflight, no known person has ever been harmed by reentering space debris. Only one person has ever been recorded as being hit by a piece of space debris and, fortunately, she was not injured.”



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