Doomed Chinese space station reportedly pictured shooting over Wellington

Doomed Chinese space station reportedly pictured shooting over Wellington

Some recent radar images of Tiangong-1 captured by the space observation radar TIRA (Tracking and Imaging Radar) of Fraunhofer Institute in Germany showed the flaming space station hurtling towards the Earth. It is estimated to be less than a 1 in 1 trillion chance that a particular person will be injured by falling space debris.

Predicting when and where the rogue station will reach the surface is extremely hard as it orbits the Earth at around 18,000 miles per hour (29,000km/h).

All eyes will be on the skies this weekend, as Chinese space station, Tiangong 1, is expected to fall back to Earth. On Friday ESA believed that Tiangong-1 would crash today between 8 am to around noon ET. That time range is given by the ESA.

As the Air Force tracks an object and releases new information about its orbital position, scientists work to predict when precisely it will actually fall given all the questions they can't answer about its journey.

Again, no-one really knows.

While an exact location is unknown, ESA scientists say the likely zone of re-entry will be somewhere between a large swath of the Earth's surface from 43 degrees north latitude, which lies just north of Buffalo, New York, and 43 degrees south latitude, which crosses New Zealand.

In case you had plans for tomorrow, maybe a roast or something, those plans could very well be interrupted a space station falling down on you and ruining your roast. "So, it could still strike a little further south, potentially if it hits that upper part of its orbit, a little further south, still in South Dakota". The space station is orbiting at a height of 122miles.

Launched in September 2011, Tiangong-1 had a design life of two years. A third astronaut slept in the Shenzhou spaceships that docked with the station, which also contained facilities for personal hygiene and food preparation.

According to the Aerospace Corporation, the odds of Tiangong-1's wreckage hitting anyone in particular are pretty low. "The Chinese couldn't communicate with it any more - any instruction they gave it, the spacecraft wouldn't respond", Scaringi said.

The space craft's descent is now being tracked by Aerospace engineering and the ESA - and say it is now dropping out of orbit by about 2.5 miles a day.

The spacecraft still has fuel on board, and if it weren't out-of-control and unresponsive, the Chinese would have been to "tell it where to smash back to Earth", Scaringi said.

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