A heavy 21-ton part of a Chinese rocket is tumbling back to Earth uncontrollably, but it is unclear exactly where or when the debris will hit our planet.
Last week. on April 29, China’s Long March 5B launched the Tianhe module of the Chinese Space Station(CSS), which is expected to be fully functional by 2022. However, the rocket that sent up the model up into low earth orbit also entered a temporary orbit, which means it will soon make one of the largest ever uncontrolled re-entries of a space machine into Earth’s atmosphere, SpaceNews reported.
“It will be one of the largest instances of uncontrolled reentry of a spacecraft and could potentially land on an inhabited area,” SpaceNews said. However, agencies believe that the likelihood of the core stage falling in an uninhabited place like Earth’s oceans is more probable.
As of yesterday, i.e May 4, the rocket was circling the Earth approximately once every 90 minutes and was traveling at around 17,149 mph (27,600km/h), at an altitude of more than 186 miles (300 kilometers).
According to the European Space Agency, the rocket is likely to hurtle back towards the Earth on May 9 at approximately 17:23 UTC, though they have added that there could be a margin of error of approximately one day.
The fears surrounding the rocket that it could crash on an inhabited land are not totally unfounded. If the rocket debris landed over an inhabited area, it would be similar to a small plane crash.
It is noteworthy to mention that China’s Long March 5B had a history of space mishaps. The last time when China launched the Long March 5B rocket in space, they ended up with big long rods of metal flying through the sky and damaging the buildings in the Ivory Coast.
Chinese commission shares photos of rocket liftoff to mock India’s COVID-19 outbreak
Apparently, the rocket which is uncontrollably falling back to Earth is the same space module whose launch was gloated upon by a Chinese Communist Party body to mock India’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Last week, the Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission on its official Sina Weibo account posted photos of the Tianhe module launch and its fuel burn-off with what appeared to be a picture of a cremation ground in India, and captioned “China lighting a fire versus India lighting a fire”. The post also included a hashtag denoting the new COVID-19 cases in India which touched the 4 lakh mark on Saturday last week.
However, the callous post by the CCP Commission sparked a massive online furore following which it was removed from the social media website. A number of Chinese citizens responded to the post, criticising the Commission for uploading an insensitive post amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in India.