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Emily LakdawallaMarch 27, 2018

Tiangong-1: How to follow the space lab's decaying orbit and reentry

I don't ordinarily post a blog entry simply to point to someone else's blog entry but I think it's important in this case. Please go read "Tiangong-1: How to follow the space lab's decaying orbit and reentry" by Andrew Jones.

The direlict Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will fall to Earth within the next three days, with the likeliest day being April 1 -- yes, April Fool's Day. (It's also Easter Sunday.) It is impossible to predict precisely where it will come down at present, but few large pieces will survive to ground and the likelihood of harm to humans is miniscule. There will be a lot of silliness flying around the Internet, and folks who have only half an eye on news while being mostly with family may not apply their usual level of rigorous analysis (*cough*) before resharing some sensational story about some place being threatened or debris falling here or there. Please, I beg you all, follow Andrew and other reliable experts (Jonathan McDowellDr Marco Langbroek, the ESA Space Debris OfficeAerospace Corporation for starters).

Feel free to share other reliable, quality sources of information in the comments. Thanks, and remember, retweet responsibly!

Here's a great video on why the reentry time and place is hard to predict.

Read more: Chinese human spaceflight, mission status

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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Emily Lakdwalla
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