Attention! It is time for news about the debris of Long March 5B expected to hit the earth. It blasted off on April 29 from Hainan Island and it is still unclear about the part of the earth it will destruct. China has informed that debris is coming freely and expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere this weekend. They have warned every country and asked to take some preventive measures if possible.
According to the media, Chinese experts said that the parts of the rocket are likely to fall in international waters. Though they informed us that debris was expected to burn into the atmosphere, that was not the case. Unlikely, if it hit an inhabitant area, there would be destruction. The rocket was used to take some parts of the Chinese space station.
Eyes on the debris
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According to the reports, the rocket is currently in a low orbit circling the Earth but gradually pulled down.
On Thursday, the US said that they were tracking down the debris and currently had no plan to shoot it. US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “ We’re hopeful that it will land in a place where it won’t harm anyone. Hopefully in the ocean, or someplace like that.” It also seems that he wanted to criticize China by saying, “make sure that we take those kinds of things into consideration as we plan and conduct operations”.
Chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge Magazine, Wang Yanan relayed, “Most of the debris will burn up during re-entry … leaving only a very small portion that may fall to the ground, which will potentially land on areas away from human activities or in the ocean.”
Jose Herrin of Earth Observatory Singapore, explained, “ Drag will slow the object causing loss of altitude, bringing it down into the denser atmosphere, which in turn causes more drag and further loss of velocity and altitude. Once this process starts, the object will be locked into an irreversible downward journey.”
Astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, told BBC, ”Small US and European upper stages also re-enter uncontrolled (and burn up entirely) but the big US or European rockets are specially designed not to leave big stages in orbit; they are always safely disposed of on the first orbit of the flight. China decided they would rather use a simpler design and hope that they get lucky with the stage re-entering uncontrolled but not hurting anyone.”
According to the reports given by The Guardian, the debris is 30m (100ft) long and weighs over 20,000kg. It is also one of the longest debris to ever fall on earth. Though the location where it would hit is not confirmed, the Chinese media predicted it to happen between 1.30 PM UTC (7.30 PM IST) on 8 May and 7.30 PM UTC on 9 May (1.00 AM IST on 10 May). The location might be between latitudes 41.5 degrees North falls in North America, Southern Europe, and China, and 41.5 degrees south, which falls in S. America, Africa, Australia, and NZ.
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