Though Easter is a very different holiday than the 4th of July, what some lucky folks see in the sky tonight could rival a good fireworks display. That’s because the Chinese space station you’ve been hearing about is finally supposed to hit Earth in spectacular fashion tonight…
A satellite, cut loose by Chinese authorities after outliving its usefulness, is due to crash land on Earth sometime this weekend – and you could be in the way.
According to The Sun, the Tiangong-1 spacecraft is currently hurling towards an imminent crash landing, and is “expected to tear across the sky” in a brilliant display, just as families in the United States are sitting down to Easter dinner.
The European Space Agency says they’re prepared for the craft, which will likely land somewhere in western Europe. “It will be visible to the naked eye, even in daylight, and look like a slow-moving shooting star that splits into a few more shooting stars. You might even see a smoke trial,” they told the UK newsmagazine.
The satellite’s crash landing is no surprise; Chinese authorities set the craft free to deteriorate after it stopped responding to commands late last year. They’ve been tracking the satellite’s descent ever since, and promise that, although the prospect of a crash-landing satellite sounds terrifying, humans shouldn’t be worried. So-called “space junk” crashes to Earth regularly without incident.
“When considering the worst-case location, the probability that a specific person will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about one million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot,” the non-profit Aerospace Corporation attempted to explain in a statement to media. “In the history of spaceflight, no known person has ever been harmed by re-entering space debris.”
If the satellite does happen to land in your backyard, officials caution that you should not approach or touch it. It is carrying a “highly toxic” fuel called hydrazine which can cause humans to experience seizures.