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Where will the plunging Chinese space lab crash-land?

By Sheetal Sukhija, Asia Pacific News
13 Mar 2018, 17:47 GMT+10

MICHIGAN, U.S. - The Chinese space lab called the Tiangong-1 would reportedly be crash-landing on Earth this April.

The incident, which has been making headlines since 2016 - after scientists at China's CNSA space agency admitted to having lost control of the lab - is now believed to ploughs into the atmosphere and smash into the U.S. state of Michigan.

According to analysts, the craft will crash-land on April 3, but they have assured that most of the craft will burn up as it hits the atmosphere.

Yet, fears are high that about 10 to 40 percent of its mass could survive and plunge to Earth.

Experts watching the path of the station have previously suggested that it had been behaving strangely.

The Tiangong-1, which as launched in 2011, was China’s first space station and was hailed as a potent political symbol of China’s growing power.

Scientists have, for several months, not been able to predict where the 8.5-tonne module will hit.

Now, analysts claim that besides Michigan, the other regions that stand to face a high chance of impact are Northern China, central Italy, northern Spain, the Middle East, New Zealand, Tasmania, South America, southern Africa, and northern states in the U.S.

What has many concerned, however, is that the Tiangong-1 is said to pack a toxic and corrosive chemical called hydrazine.

The chemical, which is used in rocket fuel and long-term exposure is believed to cause cancer in humans.

Aerospace, a space research non-profit based in California said in a statement, “There is a chance that a small amount of Tiangong-1 debris may survive reentry and impact the ground. 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.”

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