The Long March 5B - a variant of China’s largest rocket - is expected to re-enter the earth's atmosphere on May 8th. The out-of-control rocket, which has forced Whitehouse to call for "responsible space behaviour," took off from the Chinese space station last week. The 22.5-metric-ton Tianhe module of China's first permanent space station was launched into orbit last week. However, the debris from the rocket will hit earth on Saturday. According to federally funded Aerospace Corp, the debris from the rocket is expected to make a grand re-entry into the earth's atmosphere this Saturday and hit the pacific near the Equator after passing over eastern US cities. However, there is no reason to go yelling "Danger, Will Robison," down the street. Pentagon has said that they are tracking its fall. They also contend the exact location of its fall “cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its re-entry.”
On April 6th, U.S. defence secretary Lloyd Austin said the US doesn't "have a plan to shoot the rocket down" and is hopeful it will "land in a place where it won't harm anyone."
While the news might seem like a Hollywood script on space story replete with drama and intrigue up the wazoo, Experts assure us that it is not dangerous or as beyond the pale as one might think. It's not the first time the debris's from an uncontrolled rocket has fallen back to earth. The laws of physics apply - what goes up will also come down. Last year, One of the largest pieces of uncontrolled space debris from another Long March 5B rocket fell back down the Atlantic ocean after passing through Los Angeles and Central Park in New York City. China seems to be gaining notoriety in lauching out-of-control rockets into space. China on Thursday declined to comment on the debris of Long March 5B Rocket.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “The United States is committed to addressing the risks of growing congestion due to space debris and growing activity in space and we want to work with the international community to promote leadership and responsible space behaviours."
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University said “Last time they launched a Long March 5B Rocket they ended up with big long rods of metal flying through the sky and damaging several buildings in the Ivory Coast." He portends that the crash would be akin to a small plane crash scattered over 100 miles.
However, the Global Times newspaper, published by the Chinese Communist party reported, that it will burn up in the atmosphere and likely to pose a remote risk to people.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 07, 2021 12:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).