The Long March 5B rocket crashed to Earth after launching part of China’s next space station.
The 30-meter-long rocket has entered orbital speed, which means it now travels around the world every 90 minutes-too fast for the space agency to know where it is going to land.
Last year, a similar prototype spacecraft arrived in New York City in just 13 minutes. The spacecraft was finally confirmed to have landed on the Atlantic Ocean by the 18th Space Control Squadron of the US Space Force.
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University’s Center for Astrophysics, said that if the rocket re-entered the atmosphere above a densely populated area, the result would be similar to a small plane crash, scattered 1
Fortunately, this possibility is likely to keep people safe and cause little damage to buildings or the environment. However, this is not due to preventive or defensive measures, but a statistical issue.
The European Space Agency (ESA) stated that for uncontrolled reentry events like this, it is impossible to accurately predict where the object or parts of the object will fall.
This is mainly because people do not know the density of the atmosphere below 300 kilometers (this will push the height of the rocket to re-enter the atmosphere), because the spacecraft will not fly at such a low altitude.
The Long March 5B rocket currently fluctuates in altitude between 170 and 372 kilometers, but has now dropped to 160 kilometers.
The object is also likely to be burned upon re-entry, but the high melting point of the rocket may cause it to fall to the ground. Since the China Space Administration only provides limited information about its spacecraft, it is difficult for experts to know exactly how the rocket will re-enter it.
However, because there is 75% of the water on the earth, and because of the large uninhabited land, the risk to any one person is very small-compared to driving a rocket, people are at greater risk in driving a car.
“Worst case [scenario] “This is a structural bomb that hits someone and may cause death, but it is unlikely to cause multiple casualties,” McDowell told independent. He added that these fragments will travel at a speed of about 100 miles per hour, so they may cause expensive property damage, but because they will be scattered over 100 miles, only one or two pieces are likely to hit densely populated areas.
In the past ten years, about 100 satellites and rockets re-enter the atmosphere each year, with a total annual mass of about 150 tons, and the problem of space debris will only intensify over time. There is a lack of legislation to clean up the space around the earth.
NASA scientist Donald Kessler warned that the domino effect crashed between two pieces of space debris could form a layer of impenetrable debris, which would make ground-based spacecraft unable to launch. This actually traps us on the earth.
This potential problem is far smaller than the possibility of debris hitting buildings or even people. In this case, the planned mission to land on the moon or even Mars may be disrupted.