China’s prototype eight-tonne spacecraft Tiangong-1 is likely to crash on Earth this week or by the first week of April. The spacecraft has reportedly stopped sending any data signals and had entered its final stage on March 16, according to reports.
While most of the spacecraft is likely to burn up before hitting the Earth, some parts of the Tiangong-1 are still said to hit the ground, which has raised the concern among the scientists.
Experts, however, say that it is very rare that people get hit by a debris from the space. In 1997, a woman named Lottie Williams was hit on her shoulder by parts of what was believed to be the Delta II rocket, but she was uninjured.
Another spacecraft, Skylab, also did not injure anyone at the time when it crashed, and its parts were later gathered. Tiangong-1 is the 50th largest spacecraft.
The experts are yet unaware of the exact location where the Tiangong-1 might crash since the spacecraft is moving at a speed of 27,000 kilometers per hour. Meanwhile, the scientist predict that it might hit any vast part of Americas, Africa, Australia, and some regions of Asia and Europe.
Even the exact date of when the Tiangong-1 will hit the Earth is unknown. In case, the experts say, if the Tiangong-1 causes any damage to people, then China, which had launched the spacecraft, will be responsible for the compensation of the damage.
This specific rule was laid down in the 1972 Convention on International Liability for Damage caused by Space Objects or Space Liability Convention, and till date, only former Soviet Union was made to pay the liability in this kind of mutilation. Soviet Union’s nuclear-powered satellite Cosmos 954 had poured nuclear waste over Canada in 1978, and Canada had sought a compensation of six million Canadian dollars.
The Tiangong-1 is China’s first space station and was launched seven years ago with an ambition to become a space superpower to overthrow the West and Russia.
It was launched as unmanned, and in 2012 and 2013, two Chinese woman astronauts paid visit to the space station.