The Pentagon, which is the headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense has said it is tracking the out-of-control Chinese Long March 5B-rocket which is scheduled to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere this weekend.
The Chinese Long March 5B-rocket carried the “core module” of the country’s space station into low Earth orbit last week. Post the mission complete, the rocket looked like it has fallen into an orbit that could see it dive into the Earth at a speed of 18,000mph.
It is pretty vague at the moment on how the 30-metre-tall rocket fell. It is also yet to be known where exactly it will land. This Chinese rocket which weighs about 10 tonnes is the first since 1990 to have this heavy object fall into Earth in an uncontrolled manner. It is expected to enter Earth’s atmosphere on or around May 8 and US Space Command is tracking the rocket’s trajectory.
The concerns about where its debris may appear are on skyrocketing as the pentagon is still tracking the location. To much worse, its exact entry point into the Earth’s atmosphere cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its re-entry. To track the rocket, currently, we have a 100-foot object orbiting around Earth every 90 minutes. The New York Post reported that the giant debris may crash down in New York, leaving people fear-mongered.
However, the report gives a bit of a sigh of relief that it may most likely fall in one of the world’s oceans or in an isolated area. “I don’t think people should take precautions. The risk that there will be some damage or that it would hit someone is pretty small — not negligible, it could happen — but the risk that it will hit you is incredibly tiny. And so I would not lose one second of sleep over this on a personal threat basis,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard University said.